Dear God, I give thanks for all the schools across the country, from Ivy League universities to the Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky, that have publicly stated their commitment to immigrant, refugee, and international students.
The current administration of the United States incites fear--fear that demands walls and divisions. Schools are not meant to house fear, but to nurture curiosity. God, you made us curious creatures. We long to know more. At our best, this is not a quest for individual self-aggrandizement, but the communal and collective longing to reach beyond ourselves toward one another and, ultimately, toward You. The educators at these schools recognize that we face global challenges that require global collaboration, challenges that are environmental, medical, scientific, economic, political, ethical, and philosophical. They know that we learn, teach, research, discover, create, and innovate better together. They acknowledge that music blows past borders; art escapes containment; literature calls across continents. Please bless the students, faculty, administration, and staff of each of these schools. Grant them the courage of their convictions, should there be need, to protect the vulnerable in their communities. In particular, I pray tonight for Todd G. May, Chenjerai Kumanyika, and Mike Sears, three professors at Clemson University. Their school has not yet publicly opposed the Muslim and Refugee ban. In order to bring attention to this issue and to encourage the administration to take a principled stand, these teachers began a six day "Fast Against Silence" on February 6. Matthew 5:6 states, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." In order to promote justice and compassion in their school, these teachers go hungry. God, please strengthen, protect, and support these professors. Grant them physical health to endure this discipline. Gather support around them, and let their witness be fruitful in the Clemson community. Amen.