Improv on Deuteronomy 26 for US Independence Day

on this weekend when many of my friends become naturalized citizens,
and others live in fear of Immigration

When you come to the land
where God is calling you
to settle in
and find an apartment
and a job and a complicated new language,
while your tongue still tastes
the sweet old words,

you shall take some of your
new fruit –
your child’s school pictures,
copy of your green card, Red Sox cap,
the sad news in the letter from your sister,
your first autumn leaves, first mittens —
and put them in a basket
woven of your memories.

And you shall make this response …
“A wandering immigrant was my ancestor –
Somali, Bhutanese, Indonesian, Hmong,
Dominican, Haitian, Sudanese,
Mexican, Irish, Italian, Iraqi, Scot,
Albanian, Lebanese …

and there was war
and affliction, fear and hunger,
and God brought us out
on a long and hard and manna-ed way
to this strange land of fireworks and Fourth,
EZPass and ICE at the door …”

And you shall set down your baskets
in their different sizes and shapes and colors,
but full of the same gifts,
full of really the same precious gifts,
and look at one another –

all resident aliens and all neighbors,
all the celebrators of the bounty God gives us –
the land and the blessing,
always the hopes for your children,
dangers in the night
the longing for an outstretched hand.

Fireworks_4

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5 Responses to Improv on Deuteronomy 26 for US Independence Day

  1. ddl says:

    Maren, this is so beautiful. I serve a congregation that has some immigrant families…this would be so lovely to share with them– but I might change the Red Sox cap to Orioles, okay? 🙂

  2. Maren says:

    Absolutely! (I’m tempted to say anything but Yankees but that would not be Christian!)

  3. rezrevres says:

    Excellent sentiment Maren, and true for both immigrants following their convictions into Canada as well as to the United States of America. Thank you for your very skilful word artistry.

  4. rezrevres says:

    Living on the border I get to enjoy the celebrations for Canada Day on July 1st, and then again just across the St. Clair River three days later on July 4th for Independence Day. I’ve previously been invited to represent First Nations at naturalization ceremonies, and both groups of new arrivees seemed equally happy to become citizens of their respective new nations.

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