WORSHIP RESOURCES - Mennonite Central Committee

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SafeHOMESafeREFUGEWORSHIPRESOURCESMennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Washington Office encouragescongregations to consider setting aside a special Sunday to pray andadvocate for migrants, particularly those who are seeking safe refuge in theU.S. The materials below are intended to provide a starting point for worshipleaders and pastors as they plan their congregation’s worship.Gathering .2Songs .2Prayers and litanies . 2-3Offering .3Children’s time . 3Scripture texts .4Sermon ideas .4Song of response .5Benediction .5mcc.org/safe-refuge

GATHERINGPRAYERS & LITANIES Hymnal: A Worship Book 661 Sing the Journey 130 Call to Worship based on Psalm 146 Sing the Journey 139Praise God with your whole being!I will praise God as long as I live! Sing the Journey 142 Hymnal: A Worship Book 683Don’t trust the plans of humanity.Only God’s expansive love is eternal. Hymnal: A Worship Book 803 Prayer for migrantsPraise God!We praise the creator,the God of Jacob.The one who straightens the bent,who loves the hungry and poor.Praise God!We are here to praise our God,who protects the immigrant,who helps the orphan and widow.Praise God!Praise the creator whose love flows fromgeneration to generation until all isas God dreams it can be.Praise God!--Written by Tim Graves, posted onliturgybits.comSONGS Sing the Journey 8 “Somos pueblos que camina”(We are people on a journey) Hymnal: A Worship Book 322 “For we arestrangers no more” Hymnal: A Worship Book 439 “I want Jesus towalk with me” “I Will Exalt You” by Hillsong WorshipSafe Home, Safe Refuge: Worship resourcesDear Jesus,Our journey through life is long and hard. Wecannot make this trip alone; we must walktogether on the journey.You promised to send us a helper, your Spirit.Help us to see your Spirit in those you send tojourney with us.In the refugee family, seeking safety fromviolence,Let us see your Spirit.In he migrant worker, bringing food to our tables,Let us see your Spirit.In the asylum-seeker, seeking justice for himselfand his family,Let us see your Spirit.In the unaccompanied child, traveling in adangerous world,Let us see your Spirit.Teach us to recognize that as we walk with eachother, You are present.Teach us to welcome not only the strangersin our midst but the gifts they bring as well:the invitation to conversion, communion, andsolidarity.This is the help you have sent: we are not alone.We are together on the journey, and for this wegive you thanks. Amen.-- Collected Prayers for Immigrants2

OFFERINGPRAYERS & LITANIES continued Prayer of confessionGod, let us not only be grateful if tragedies haveescaped us. Let us also be transformed by yourgrace to repent of ways we are implicated inunjust policies that lead to tragedies upon others.Offer protection to those seeking new life. Amen.Consider designating a special offering for MCC’swork to help welcome newcomers to the U.S.Offering prayer: Sing the Journey 150 Hymnal: A Worship Book 750-- Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Disciples Refugee& Immigration Ministries, “Lent 2019: Turningwalls into welcome,” Interfaith ImmigrationCoalition, Week 3CHILDREN’S TIMEThe leader may ask the children if they haveever moved. If so, allow them to share what theexperience was like. Explain that sometimes familiesmove because they want to do so. Other times theymove because they have no other choice. Then,read a story such as Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote:A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh or Two WhiteRabbits by Jairo Buitrago.Or, if immigrants or refugees attend yourcongregation, you may want to invite them to shareparts of their story in an interview format. You maywant to ask questions such as: How old were youwhen you moved to the U.S.? Why did you cometo the U.S.? What is your first memory of being inthe U.S.? What are things that you enjoyed doingin your home country? Plan this out in advance toallow the people being interviewed to determine whatthey are comfortable sharing with the children andcongregation.Safe Home, Safe Refuge: Worship resources3

SCRIPTURE TEXTSGenesis 18:1-8; Psalm 91; Hebrews 13:1-3SERMON IDEASAll of us long for safety and refuge. Ultimately thisis found only in God, who welcomes the strangersand gives them refuge. As we seek to become moreChristlike, we too are called to create places ofrefuge and welcome for those who are in danger orneed. Dina Nayeri writes of her own experience as arefugee in the United States: “It is the obligation ofevery person born in a safer room to open the doorwhen someone in danger knocks.”Hebrews 13:2 instructs Jesus’ followers toshow hospitality to strangers. “The Greek wordfor hospitality is ‘philoxenos.’ It means love forthe stranger and was recognized as a primarycharacteristic of the early followers of Christ. Themandate was, is, and remains clear: to live lives ofinclusive hospitality, to recognize that Christ comesto us in the form of the stranger, and to be one withthe prisoners, the persecuted, the undocumented,the refugee, the migrant, the immigrant, the stranger”(The Bible as the Ultimate Immigration Handbook,p. 15). Philoxenos—love for the stranger—is in starkcontrast to another word with the same root, “xenos.”Xenophobia is fear of the stranger. As Christians, weare instructed to turn away from fearing the strangerand toward loving the stranger.Safe Home, Safe Refuge: Worship resourcesThe reference in Hebrews to unknowingly entertainingangels may refer to the story in Genesis 18. Abraham,cited in Hebrews 11 as an example of faith, ran tothree strangers who appeared and welcomed theminto his household. As is customary in Middle Easthospitality, he provided a generous meal to them.Elsewhere in Genesis 18 we learn that it was theLORD who had appeared as a stranger.Immigrants and refugees also enrich our communitiesin many ways. They revive struggling towns, fillworker shortages and open small businesses. It is nota zero-sum game. Asylum seekers don’t “win” saferefuge at a cost to the rest of us. We all win, buildingstronger and more prosperous communities together.Additional resources and stories: Trump gave states the power to ban refugees.Conservative Utah wants more of them The song remains: Hope in Honduran gangterritory (Mennonite World Conference) “Each step is a prayer,” Mennonite WorldConference Peace Sunday 2019 worshipresources Out of the house of slavery: A Bible study onimmigration4

SONG OF RESPONSE “Jesus, See the Traveler” by Sara Groves Sing the Journey 4 “You’ve got a place (at thewelcome table)” Sing the Journey 64 “Somos el cuerpo de Cristo”(We are the body of Christ) Sing the Journey 69 “Cuando el pobre” (When thepoor ones) Sing the Story 115 “Beauty for brokenness” Hymnal: A Worship Book 419 “Lead on, O cloudof Presence”Safe Home, Safe Refuge: Worship resourcesBENEDICTIONMay you go out looking for those who don’t havea place to stay. Remember that Joseph and Maryhad to run for their lives and the life of infant Jesus.Remember that Jesus never found a place to resthis head. And remember that we are all immigrantsin this world, foreigners and nomads here on earth.Open the doors for each other, prepare a table foreach other and offer hospitality to all without askingfor their documents or their origin. May the peace ofChrist be with us all.-- Adapted from Christian Churches Together,Worship Service for Immigrants5

Hymnal: A Worship Book 661 Call to Worship based on Psalm 146 Praise God with your whole being! I will praise God as long as I live! Don't trust the plans of humanity. Only God's expansive love is eternal. Praise God! We praise the creator, the God of Jacob. The one who straightens the bent, who loves the hungry and poor. Praise God!

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