I just got back from the South OC People's Prayer Breakfast at St. George's Episcopal Church in Laguna Hills, an alternative to pricey prayer breakfasts, the ones that are often designed to drum up support for political candidates.
The free event, with roughly 50 in attendance, took the theme "Our God is Undocumented", and highlighted the plight of undocumented (illegal!) immigrants (aliens!), with a focus on the Biblical response to the issue.
Indeed, the breakfast was soaked in Scripture from the get-go, as organizer Tom Airey, a government and economics teacher at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, opened with several Scripture readings and compared immigrants to the Samaritans of Jesus Christ's day.
"Throughout holy Scripture, God is found in the brokenhearted, and the oppressed, and the poor and all of those of us who find solidarity with them," Airey said. "And we believe that the immigrant community within the U.S. is one such group where God uniquely dwells."
He quoted Exodus 23:9, which reads: "Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners."
The breakfast featured prayers in English and Spanish, and the stories of undocumented (illegal!) immigrants (aliens!).
Alexia Salvatierra, executive director of Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, was the keynote speaker. Like Airey, she quoted Scripture, and shared immigration anecdotes and statistics that would, depending on one's political persuasion, stir compassion or suspicion.
"I think that if we practice an attitude of hospitality towards all people, that we come very close to the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, that that is really the call of what it means to be a Christian, is to love in that way when we practice hospitality constantly, at every moment. Amen?" she said.
For more information on Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, visit www.clueoc.org.