Remarks at Lights for Liberty

Posted by on Oct 28, 2020

Remarks at Lights for Liberty

Terry Shrunk Plaza, July 12, 2019

Our hearts are so broken, but we come together tonight as the humans who constitute the buffer between the nightmare that is America today and the point of no return.

Take a look around you if you can still see in this twilight light, and take in the faces of those who are with you on this journey. Together we will not allow this nation to get to the point of no return.


Holy One of Blessing, you who have either architected or witnessed the story of humanity as the tale of one migration after another forced by war or violence, economic necessity, genocide, climate catastrophe, slavery or any other reason, help all of us see that every tale of migration is an opportunity to do your compassionate will on this planet.

May we speedily and in our day run to offer expansive and unconditional welcome, may we love the sojourner as ourselves, may we share the abundance that quite frankly is not even ours to share.

May we finally learn why migration is happening FOR US and not TO US.

There are so many reasons that we can lift up. Sociological, political, economic, and more.

Others have said, and I echo: Migration is happening FOR US in order to:

Enrich us with amazing cultural, spiritual, culinary, artistic, musical, intellectual depth and diversity;

Add hard working humans to our labor force that needs them because citizens are not interested in working those particular jobs;

Ensure that our agricultural sector can function;

Pay taxes that far exceed the money the government spends in supporting immigration or refugee resettlement;

Help us understand how limited and boring and stale our world would be if we were all the same;

Cross pollinate (just like the bees do with flowers) to grow stronger, hardier, more beautiful and more inspiring humans

But I speak to you tonight as a theologian, and so I want to add something that I haven’t heard anyone else say.

Migration happens to bring our soul to its highest possible incarnation by teaching us to release all greed, to love all in need, to prove our worth through generous deed, to illustrate that when we save even one life it is as if we saved the entire world, but that we must save every single life nonetheless.

We are about to light our candles along with hundreds of thousands of others in this country. As we do so, I offer an intention for our lighting.

Every Sabbath evening, Jews light our candles and then sing a song titled Shalom Alecheim/Peace Be Upon You.

In this prayer we wish peace to the angels who care for us, we beckon them to come into our presence in peace, we bless them in peace and then we bid them leave in peace.

Tonight, whether you see those doing civil disobedience to close the concentration camps as angels, or those giving water to migrants in the desert as angels, or those exposing the dirty money trail which keeps those camps going as angels, or those like our own Senator Merkely who use that power wisely to show the administrations intentional harm of children as part of its strategy as angels, or whether you see the adults and children themselves, who are coming to our borders to teach us to release greed and love all in need as angels,

As we light tonight, let us think of whoever your angels are and send peace and power to them on the carrier waves of the electricity and flames of our candles, so that they may persist in this work and we may prevail.

Please light as I sing (You can google Shalom Alechem to get the text for that if you are looking for it)

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