November 29 – Borders and the Promised Land

By: Rev. Rhina Ramos, National Coordinator Encuentros Latinx, UCC National

I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem built as a city that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD (Psalm 122).


“Abolition is a calling for a more humane world, a more just world, a world donde quepan muchos mundos, as the Zapatistas say, a world where many worlds fit, a world based in dignity, respect, kindness, and love for our fellow human beings and the living planet… It is a call for artificial borders to melt away and interconnectedness to be cherished. Like the subterranean mycelial networks of trees, this is a way we can weather the 21st century storms, and begin to build something new, perhaps even a more beautiful world.”
– Todd Miller,
More Than a Wall: Corporate Profiteering and the Militarization of US Borders


Psalms were songs and poems written to celebrate and praise God’s wonders as well as Israel’s victories over their enemies. They were also a way of expressing grief when there was defeat or the Psalmist was in a troubled place. This Psalm is celebrating the arrival before the gates of Jerusalem. A place of rest from all world tribulations and exile. Crossing the US border represents entering a kind of Jerusalem for many people. Those who suffered persecution for being gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or gender non-conforming. Those who fled to save themselves from state inflicted violence for not fitting into the rigidity of patriarchal gender designations. Those crying for freedom, for the right of simply living out the essence of their divine creation. The psalmist imagines a city, a Jerusalem that welcomes everyone who is tired, exhausted from fighting, a city “bound firmly together.” Our abolitionist visions imagine a US border that has become a safe place to arrive, to be welcomed, to be seen, and call us to embrace and affirm our LGBTQ siblings as they seek to be all that God intended them to be.


Holy One, God-on-the-Move,
we long for your loving presence to gladden our hearts
and make this world a place of welcome for all.
Through our abolition practice,
make us and our communities a sacred refuge, a sanctuary, a “house of the Lord”
for all seekers and sojourners,
so that we may be the welcoming blessing that makes others glad.
May we wait with as much eagerness for their coming as we do for yours.  Amen.


Artwork: “Promise Land” by Yohana Junker (discover more at:


...I missed even the idea of home. But it seems to me that if you are someone who leaves, then you must always be leaving, because to stop leaving is to stay, which holds its own consequences. The space between staying and leaving, I think, is called longing.” ― Larissa Pham, Pop Song: Adventures in Art & Intimacy

Take Action

Border Abolition

  • Study: Learn more about immigration and border abolition by exploring these resources.
  • Advocate: Urge Congress to fully fund communities with the resources they need to ensure immigrants and asylum seekers have access to food, clothing, shelter, legal orientation, medical care, and other services.
  • Dwell: Hear artists Cassils and rafa esparza discuss their collaboration In Plain Sight that brings together artwork dedicated to the abolition of immigrant detention, as they consider the role of art, collaboration, and community in ending the government’s unjust treatment of immigrants while providing material support for those most affected.
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