June 20, 2021
For two decades, June 20th’s designation as “World Refugee Day” has drawn global attention to both the plight of refugees living on the edge of survival and their strength and courage. It is also a day to remember the promise made by 146 countries, including the U.S., to provide safe haven and long-term recovery to those forced to flee their homelands.
One of the lectionary readings for today is the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4–11, 19–23) 32–49. It occurred to me recently that this story is a good metaphor for the U.S. asylum system, with David as an individual asylum seeker and Goliath as the U.S. immigration system.
Like David, many refugees are ordinary people who stand up for themselves and the rights of others. They must summon enormous courage and rely on their faith in a loving and just God to deliver them. When they arrive at an international border, they must muster the courage once again to tell their refugee story to the “powers that be” in hopes that they will not be sent back. Whether at the U.S. border or waiting in a refugee camp in Kenya, refugees must overcome impossible odds for their survival.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance partners with churches and organizations on the ground to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and forcibly displaced people. On this World Refugee Day, we lift up situations where PDA is currently active through our PC(USA) partners:
- The people of Syria after 10 years of war
- Cameroon, particularly the conflict with the Anglophone regions
- The Tigray Region of Ethiopia
- The Gedo Region of Somalia
- Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador
- The Mexico border with the U.S.
In the U.S., we acknowledge and give thanks for San Fernando Valley Refugee Children’s Center; the Interfaith Welcome Coalition; Angry Tias and Abuelas; Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees; Home for Refugees; El Shaddai Vision Church; the Presbyteries of the Pacific, San Gabriel and Riverside; Church World Service; and the hundreds of PC(USA) congregations for their ministries of welcome and accompaniment.
An intercessory prayer, other worship resources and World Refugee Day materials can be found at pcusa.org/refugee.
Susan Krehbiel, Associate for Refugees and Asylum, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, June 20, 2021, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
First Reading 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49
Or alternate First Reading 1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16
Or alternate Psalm Psalm 133
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Gospel Mark 4:35-41
Today’s Focus: World Refugee Day Reflection
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray:
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9–10)
Today we pray for all those who have been forced to leave their homes, their homelands and all they hold dear that you may grant them safe passage, wisdom and courage. And we pray for host communities around the world to have open hearts and eyes to see God’s servants in the faces of those seeking refuge. In the name of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.