An Immigrant Interpretation of Psalm 139

1 O God, you have searched us and known us well.
2 You know when we cross the desert and when we swim through the Rio Grande;
     you discern our fears from far away.
3 You search out the path of our people, the immigrants, in the desert, you find all of the shoes, toothbrushes,
    underwear, crucifixes, and the blood of our people.
    In prisons, you find our children alone, completely lost,
    and parents with a hole so great in their hearts that they are swallowed by grief.
    You are acquainted with all our desperation.
4 Even before a word is on our tongue, or a tear is shed O God, you know us so completely.
    You know we are lost for words here.
5 like the heat of the desert and the cold water of Rio Grande you surround us.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for us; we believe in you so much, you wouldn’t believe it.
7 Where can we go to find your Spirit?
   We go to El Norte fleeing from hunger, violence, draught, climate change and devastations,
    where can we find the security of the earth moving in cycles, your presence?
8 If we knock at the doors of churches,
    we never know if we will be welcomed or they will call La Migra;
    if we try to go to Christian seminaries you will not be there. For they are afraid of their status
    and only concerned with their deep thoughts and research.
9 If we take the wings of the morning,
    and go fight on the streets for our people,
    they will come with the police and their laws and put us in jail.
10 We wished your hand could lead us,
      protect us, and hold us fast. But we have nothing.
11 For if we say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around us become night’
12 Darkness we are;
     We are the night that shines as the day,
      We are darkness to the world
      and to You too.”
From: Cláudio Carvalhaes, “This Is Just The End: On How Not To Go Mad These Days,”  in the book Preaching in/and the Borderlands, J. Dwayne Howell and Charles L. Aaron Jr. Editors (Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2020).