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Program Idea: December 2012

Preparing for Our Journey

By Grace Han

Purpose

Many Korean United Methodist Women know that we are all sojourners or immigrants on this planet and extend our mission to the immigrants, not only in the United States, but also to migrant workers in Korea, the exiled from North Korea, multi-cultural families in Korea and everywhere.

Materials

Have Bibles, Program Books and the Charter for Racial Justice for each participant.

Room Setup

Set up the room with sufficient space for everyone to sit in a circle or semicircle so that it is conducive to conversation.

Set up the table:

  • Cover the table with a white or light-colored cloth.
  • Underneath the cloth, place several small boxes.
  • Place pictures of early immigrants of the United States, African refugees, the exiled from North Korea, people reading the Bible, and other photos of sojourners.
  • Place a cross, a Bible and a pillar candle in a triangle shape on the center table. Add a water pitcher to the table.
  • On the skirt of the table, you may pin symbols of the work of immigrants, such as aprons, plastic gloves, scrubs, garden tools, restaurant menus, maps, or any colorful and thought-provoking images.

Listen

Call to Worship  

One: Praise God, all the angels, praise the Lord from the heavens!

Many: Praise God, sun and moon, all you shining stars!

One: Praise God, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Many: Let them praise the name of the Lord for he commanded and they were created. He established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed. (Psalm148:1-6)

One: Lord, while the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and were sojourners in the wilderness for 40 years,

Many: You were their protector, a guide and the advocate.

One: Lord, while there are many sojourners who live like slaves oppressed by injustice in this country,

Many: We want to learn to help them and to be an advocate for them.

One: There are many immigrants in this country who suffer because of their limited language or job skills.

Many: Lord, we acknowledge that we too, are sojourners in this country. Help us embrace those who are in need of love.

One: Lord, we want to be your hands and feet, their eyes and voices.

Many: We shall follow your words, “Love one another.” Lord, make us your instruments in building your kingdom on this planet. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-40                                   

Hymn: We Are Called (The Faith We Sing #2172)                   

Prayer: A Prayer of the Immigrants (Grace Han, based on Luke 1:46-55)

The souls of the immigrants magnify the Lord, 
and our spirits rejoice in God, our Savior,
for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of the servants.

Surely, from now on, all people in this country will call us blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for the immigrants,
and holy is God’s name.

God’s mercy is for those who fear God,
From generation to generation.

God has shown strength;
Scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts: 

During the early immigrant era, as the Europeans entered the U.S.,
they ignored that Native Americans have lived for many generations on the land before them.
Rather, the immigrants called them savages and dealt harshly with them.

God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly:
Now, hundreds of years later, when the people of European descent have increased their pride, especially in politics, God made a Black son the President.

God has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty. 
God has helped the servants, the immigrants,
   in remembrance of God’s mercy, 
And according to the promise God made to our ancestors,
   and to Abraham, the father of faith and to his immigrant descendants forever. Amen.

Message       

Jesus came to us as a sojourner and an immigrant

It has been only a hundred years or so since Koreans have migrated to this country while the Caucasians owned the land.
Yet whether we are Caucasians or Koreans, we are the same: immigrants.
The only difference is that the Europeans migrated 400 to 500 years before Koreans.
However, that difference has separated us much further than that simple fact.

Some have the land; some don’t.
Some have the language; some don’t.
Some have economic power; some don’t.
Some have political power, some don’t.
Some standards rule, some don’t.

There are many, many true Christians and there are many, many United Methodist Women.

Yet, we must remember one thing:
As Christians, we confess Jesus is the Lord,
If we are not deeply centered in God always,
And do not move from our comfort zone,
Our pride swells up.

We find it easier to find fault with racists and the injustices done to others than looking at ourselves and seeing the injustices we do.
Discovering our own injustices is very important in our faith journey as we are all sojourners of faith. 

How are the Korean immigrants doing?
How are we with our souls?
Do some of us brag about speaking English and having wealth?
Do some of us look down on newcomers?

How do we treat other ethnic minority people? Vietnamese, African Americans, Mexicans? People who handle vegetables at the Korean grocery markets and wash dishes in Korean restaurants?
Do we recycle racism or do we love our neighbors?

There are many immigrants in the Bible:
Father Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees and migrated to Canaan.
A virgin named Esther who became a queen of Persia.
Ruth the Moabite was widowed and followed her Hebrew mother-in-law, Naomi, back to her homeland Bethlehem.
Jesus, himself, had to migrate. As soon as he was born, because there was a threat from King Herod, he and his parents fled to Egypt.

At the end of the year in this Advent season, let us remember that Jesus who came to us as a newborn baby, was a sojourner, an immigrant himself.

As the New Year approaches, how do we prepare our prayerful hearts for the coming year in relation to the mission on immigrants?

Closing Prayer

Psalm: 107: 1-8

Leader: O give thanks to the Lord,

All: for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever. 

Leader: Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

All: those he gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. 

Leader: Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town;  hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. 

All: Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town.

All: Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,  for his wonderful works to humankind. Amen.

Discussion

Here are some guiding questions to explore this theme of Preparing for Our Journey: (from the Program Book Overview)

  • Who are the poor that God raises? (Psalm 113)
  • What are the different kinds of poverty — indigent or destitute?
  • Is poverty more than lack of finances or is poverty a destitution among immigrants who come empty-handed, powerless or oppressed? How do the humble poor look to God for salvation?
  • Does being poor make us righteous?
  • Does being wealthy make us sinners?
  • When God gives us more, is it that we will have more or that we will give more?
  • Look at examples of Wesley who spent more money on others than on himself.
  • Do we give what can we spare? Or what will it take to reach out to our neighbors who may be poor and new to the country?
  • Who is a stranger?
  • What does it mean to invite one in?
  • When does a stranger become our neighbor?

Study the Charter for Racial Justice and the policies.

  • What is Racial Justice?
  • History of Racism
  • Do I see my own racism?
  • What are the actions I can take from the sections, “Because We Believe” and “We Will”?

Immigration Bible Study

Read the Immigration Bible Study (PDF, 31pp, 614K) by the Desert Southwest Conference on umc-gbcs.org.

Read Books from the Reading Program Book list especially in the Social Action category.

Act/Advocate

Last Updated: 04/08/2014
 
 

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