A Prayer at Our Border

The great mujerista theologian Gloria Anzaldúa called the U.S.-Mexico border una herida abierta, an open wound. In her book Borderlands | La Frontera, she lets poetry express the pain of that brokenness:

1,950 mile-long open wound

dividing a pueblo, a culture

running down the length of my body,

staking fence rods in my flesh

splits me          splits me

            me raja            me raja

The photos and headlines in the news show a wound that is not only open: it festers. Images of Border Patrol officers whipping Haitian migrants on horseback conjur both the darkest violence in our nation’s past, and the gratuitous harm that has always defined our borderlands. Borders are not natural: They exist not only to keep out the people they exclude, but to communicate what is “acceptable” to those within their walls, pursuing compliance through fear. Today and every day, we are reminded that these divisions violate the love God wills for us all.

As Christians, we do our primary allegiance is never to a country. We belong first and foremost to God, and when divine love and our nation’s laws conflict, we are called to follow God and defy unjust power. And the truth is: We have been complicit for far too long. Our deserts are littered with corpses we pretend we do not see. Since 1994, it’s estimated more than 10,000 people have died trying to seek asylum. We do not know the true number; many bodies are never found. Migrants’ blood cries out from the ground, indicting a country that has sufficient space and resources yet refuses to share. It’s time to heal this gaping wound.

So let this be our prayer: God, do not let us turn away. Remind us that what we see now, we have seen for generations. Call us to stand in the breach. You have not blessed us with abundance so we can hide it behind borders. Open our hands and tear down our walls. And God, be with every person seeking safety. Remind them that they have a right to live in our midst. Wrap them in your protection, that they might live and flourish. Comfort children. Comfort parents. Sit beside the lonely. Console those who weep for home, and promise them a new one. And work through us to answer those prayers.

A reminder: Border Patrol and immigration services are part of the federal government. When President Biden ran for office, he promised safehaven for undocumented people, and to reverse the inhumanity of his predecessor. Whips wielded on horseback could not be a more grotesque violation of those promises. Please, contact your congressional representatives and tell them we must immediately extend asylum protection to Haitian refugees. And write to the White House. Demand the safety and welcome migrants deserve.

If you’d like to get more involved in this work, please join our ¡Hablamos! group that meets virtually every second Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. ET.