Stranger, you’re home – a prayer for those affected by xenophobia in South Africa

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Lord, we pray for the stranger –
for the stranger we see
in the eyes of who we once were.
For the stranger staring back at us
from newsprint and newsreel.
For the stranger who has picked up
these rocks and these rods
with hands we were so sure were our own.

We confess our estrangement from You, merciful Lord.
The blood of our sins cry out to you
from the littered streets of Alexandra, Jeppestown, KwaZulu-Natal.
Make a paste of it, Lord
that we might see ourselves again.

Lord, we pray for the stranger –
for the stranger we see in the eyes of people
who were neighbours before they became victims.
For the stranger sojourning in our land
seeking refuge, and denied it.
For the strangers we once were, in Egypt, in apartheid
who swore, Never again.

Lord, we confess them as our neighbours, fellows, friends
our fellowship and our freedom.
It is only in taking their hands
that we find our own hands again.
It is only in recognising them
that we begin to recognise ourselves.
And it is only in saying, Stranger, you’re home
that we come home once more.

Amen.

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