A prayer for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15, 2019

“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

We have all been created in the image of God and have inherited talents, skills, and abilities for good works. God has distributed that creative capacity through all the ethnic groups of the great family that is the human race. This original capacity helps to create an interdependence through which we can all serve each other with the talents God has given us.

The biblical narrative is full of the migrations of humankind. Sometimes the migration was directed by the explicit will of God. Sometimes it was prompted by force, hunger, or persecution. Whatever their reasons for moving, immigrants portrayed in the Bible often contributed their talents to the common good of the host nation. For example, Joseph's forced emigration resulted in his saving Egypt and neighboring nations from famine. Ruth's migration because of hunger put her in place to be a link in Jesus' earthly genealogy.
 
The migration of the first Christians transformed the norms of the known world. Today, in the United States, the talents of Latinos have contributed to the arts, sciences, public services, private companies, sports, and many other areas of public life.
 
God has a blessing for those who receive the immigrant: "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world … for I was a stranger, and you welcomed me ….” (Matthew 25:34-35).
 
God calls us to love our neighbor, whether he or she lives next to us or at another end of the planet.
 
According to a study by the U.N.’s World Food Programme, hunger is one of the main reasons that people migrate  from Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). This finding leads us to reflect on Jesus' instruction to his disciples when they asked him what to do with a crowd of more than 5,000 hungry people: "Give them something to eat" (Matthew 14:16).
 
When Joseph opened the barns of Egypt (Genesis 41:56), he demonstrated that the abundance of Egypt could alleviate hunger in neighboring nations. Likewise, the collection of the offering for international hunger relief among the New Testament churches (2 Corinthians 8-9) provides an example of help and compassion across borders.
 
As an expression of the good works for which God has created us, we now have the opportunity to advocate Congress to help our neighbors in the Northern Triangle region by supporting an assistance package to eradicate the root causes of hunger—so our neighbors can prosper.

Prayer

Lord, your Word teaches that we should not keep from doing good to those in need when we can do something about it. We pray that Congress will approve a budget that funds international assistance programs that help our neighbors in the Northern Triangle to have access to food, health, and opportunities to thrive and reach the maximum potential you have given them. Amen.

Today, in the United States, the talents of Latinos have contributed to the arts, sciences, public services, private companies, sports, and many other areas of public life.

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  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

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