Improv on Psalm 131 for migrants of the Mediterranean

Out of the depths they cry to you, O God.
and they cry to us – the world,
not just Italy, not just Greece.

You who walked on water,
and stilled the storm —
hear these voices
from Gambia and Nigeria,
Bangladesh and Afghanistan,
Syria and Iraq,
Libya, Mali and Eritrea!
And let our ears be attentive
to the voice of their supplications!

Do you mark the iniquities
of human traffickers,
and smugglers, O God?

Ah, but if you also mark the iniquities
of those who turn away
from news of these drownings,
these desperate journeys,
O Living Water, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with you,
and you teach mercy
and cooperation and hope
for the migrants of the world.

You adopted a wandering Aramean,
and shelter in your love
all who long for a promised land
with the milk of food for children
and the honey of education,
employment, safety,
and for that you are revered.

They wait for you, God,
their souls wait for the Holy One
by different names,
but they must not wait for us —
for in our words is their hope.

Across the Mediterranean
in fragile, over-full vessels,
so many souls wait for welcome
and the kindness of rescue boats —
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

O World, hope in God!
For with God there are no borders,
but great power to change human hearts.

May all in the world who have homes
pray for forgiveness until there is shelter
for all who journey.

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4 Responses to Improv on Psalm 131 for migrants of the Mediterranean

  1. These are such hard stories to hear on the news, and thank God for all the good people who are trying to do something, who are in fact, rescuing, reporting, finding shelter for survivors, finding some money for relief, wading into the affairs of so many states to try to bring change. NPR has had some poignant stories this week about the persistance of belief that these trips are a way to freedom, that thrives among poor people in Africa. Thanks for giving us a prayer to lift it all.

  2. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for your witness. To me, these people are not migrants or immigrants. They are refugees. They were not so much fleeing “to” as fleeing “from” ~ fleeing from slaughter. I will join you, precious Maren, in this beautiful and heartfelt prayer for forgiveness and mercy. And I will also pray for justice.

  3. rezrevres says:

    Once again Maren, you have spoken out with elegance about a sorry plight it seems the world would much rather ignore. The carnage of global statecraft and crass power politics are these people left adrift like so much flotsam and jetsam on the world’s oceans and seas. Indeed they are fleeing “from the slaughter” with no where for them to flee “to”, and so they truly are left to suffer “until there is shelter for all who journey.” Thank you for your prayerful thoughts and words.

  4. Maren says:

    Thank you, Matthew, Dwight and Nancy, for your response and witness for these children of God adrift often on our indifference. There is so much United States unkindness that I hate to lift up anything that might criticize another continent’s response to such refugee-need, but the losses — this year so far more than 1500 dead is almost unbelievable.

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