40 Days of Lent

During this season of Lent, we invite you to journey through the 40 days, guided by a verse of the Bible that captures the stories of immigrants and the directions for our response. 40 Days of Lent provides a verse for each day, along with a question to spark your individual reflection, or conversation with others.

God comes to us as the stranger waiting for welcome.

Joan M. Maruskin, Immigration and the Bible

Ash Wednesday, February 26

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. 

Isaiah 58:9b-12 

What breach exists in your community; what is the brokenness to be repaired?

February 27

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. 

Psalm 24:1 

Make a list of things in the world all people deserve to experience equally.

February 28

For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Galatians 5:14

Who is your neighbor?

February 29

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo
one another in showing honor.Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.Rejoice in hope, be patient
in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Romans 12:9-13

How do we extend hospitality to strangers?

first sunday IN lent, March 1

A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number,
and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and
afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our
voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand
and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us
into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of
the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.

Deuteronomy 26:5b-10a

Why did your ancestors leave their homeland?

March 2

You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:9

What does home mean to you?

March 3

And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of
Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.

Genesis 17:8

How did your ancestors come to this land?

March 4

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. And
Isaac went to Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go
down to Egypt; settle in the land that I shall show you. Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you,
and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I
swore to your father Abraham.

Genesis 26:1-3

What would you do if you were forced to leave your homeland?

March 5

I am a stranger and an alien residing among you; give me property among you for a burying place, so that I
may bury my dead out of my sight.

Genesis 23:4

What are your thoughts about sense of place after death?

March 6

Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan.

Genesis 37:1

What do you wish for the next generation’s sense of home?

March 7

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Psalm 46: 8-11

How are we assured that God is with us?

Second sunday in lent, March 8

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He
will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that
also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and
long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord this way, my beloved.”

Philippians 3:20–4:1

How does our “heavenly citizenship” (identity as baptized Christians) challenge being citizens of
particular countries?

March 9

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that
I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you
will be a blessing.

Genesis 12:1-2

What might your response be if you received a call like Abram’s?

March 10

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child
and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill
him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the
death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my
son.”

Matthew 2:13-15

Why did Joseph flee with his family?

March 11

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
an alien, like all my forebears.

Psalm 39:12

Write a prayer from the perspective of a refugee.

March 12

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the
sea; though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Psalm 46: 1-3

How does God accompany refugees and migrants?

March 13

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.God is in the
midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar,
the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our
refuge.

Psalm 46:4-7

What does it mean for children when “nations are in an uproar?”

March 14

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you
shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of
Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19: 33-34

Where do you encounter “alien citizens?” If you are not sure, how might you look for them?

Third Sunday in Lent, March 15

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy
wine and milk without money and without price.

Isaiah 55: 1

How can your church offer abundant provision for people?

March 16

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the
day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance
to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your
servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring
a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your
servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make
ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took
a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk
and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

Genesis 18:1-8

How would you characterize Abraham’s attitude toward the strangers?

March 17

…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger
and you welcomed me…’

Matthew 25:35

What opportunities do you have to feed the hungry, ensure the thirsty have something to drink, and
welcome a stranger?

March 18

Lord….when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?’

Matthew 25:38

Where are the surprising places of need in your community?

March 19

I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and
you did not visit me.’

Matthew 25:43

What are the needs you find difficult to respond to or choose to ignore? Why?

March 20

Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick
or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it
to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

Matthew 25:44-45

Identify one potential need in your community you have not noticed or responded to previously. What
might you do to respond to the need?

March 21

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The
commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”;
and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13: 8-10

Which of the ten commandments are more difficlut for you to fullfill in relation to how we love our
neighbor?

Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22

Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in time of trouble; when the great waters overflow, they
shall not reach them.
You are my hiding-place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye.
Do not be like horse or mule, which have no understanding; who must be fitted with bit and bridle, or else
they will not stay near you.”
Great are the tribulations of the wicked; but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.

Psalm 32:6-10

Sing or read a hymn that sustains you in times of trouble, or reminds you of God’s steadfast presence
and love.

March 23

You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 22:21

What common experience might you share with a migrant or refugee?

March 24

You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge.
Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I
command you to do this.

Dt. 24:17-18

What injustices happen to outsiders in your community?

March 25

One day Elisha was passing through Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to have a meal.
So whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for a meal. She said to her husband, “Look, I am sure
that this man who regularly passes our way is a holy man of God. Let us make a small roof chamber with
walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that he can stay there whenever he comes
to us.”

2 Kings 4:8-10

What can you do to make space for sojourners or strangers?

March 26

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own

Psalm 58: 6-7

What spiritual discipline can you take on for the benefit of refugees?

March 27

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as
yourself.”

James 2:8

Write or share a confession of a time you did not love a neighbor as yourself.

March 28

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have
entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13: 1-2

Describe a tme when you have sensed the presence of God in someone to whom you have offered
hospitality.

Fifth Sunday in lent, March 29

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with
laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 126:1-6

If you were a refugee, what do you think would bring you joy?

March 30

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance;
and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been
promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same
promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:8-10

To what, by faith, is God calling you?

March 31

The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Psalm 146:9

How can you be the eyes of God watching over the refugee?

April 1

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it
shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your
undertakings.

Dt. 24: 19

What daily practices do you have that create a welcome space for refugees and migrants?

April 2

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows
God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this
way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved
God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved
us so much, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:7-11

What amazing act of love might God be calling you to do?

April 3

When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses.
But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well. The priest of Midian
had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. But some
shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock.
When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?” They
said, “An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.” He
said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. She bore a son, and he named him
Gershom; for he said, “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.

Exodus 2:15-22

Where do you see outsiders as helpers or leaders in your community?

April 4

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live
there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he
came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a
little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring
me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a
handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home
and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and
do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for
yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the
jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so
that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the
jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

1 Kings 17:8-16

In what ways has a stranger helped you realize something about abundance from God?

Palm Sunday, April 5

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

What do you need to empty yourself of in order to witness God’s love to refugees and migrants?

April 6

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said
to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor
as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

Luke 10: 25-28

What motivates you to show love to your neighbors?

April 7

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going
down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went
away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he
passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the
other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own
animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the
innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.

Luke 10: 29-35

To what lengths have you gone to show mercy for people in need?

April 8

Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He
said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10: 36-37

Where along your daily path might you see someone in need that you did not notice before?

Maundy thursday, April 9

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you
know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set
you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater
than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are
blessed if you do them.

John 13:12-17

Describe a humbling act of service you have offered to someone in need.

good friday, April 10

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our
weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us
therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in
time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

What gift of grace do you need to welcome the stranger?

easter vigil, April 11

But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That
day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the
shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people
feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this
song to the Lord:“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.Both horse and driver he has hurled into the
sea.

Exodus 14:29 – 15:1

How does God sustain and give hope to migrants and refugees?

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