“A Christian Prayer in Defense of Black Lives”
Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and His Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers: “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Gracious Eternal One. You who are indeed faithful. You whom we are assured will make Yourself known in times like these, we thank You for being present even when we feel like we cannot see or hear You above the racket of evil deeds and systems of oppression. We admit right now that, though we believe Isaiah 49:7 is true and that those in power will eventually bow down…. We are TIRED, Lord. We have mourned so much that we are nearly out of tears. We have screamed our truth to the powers that be until our throats are parched and sore. We have marched and prayed until our feet are blistered and our prayers feel empty. And so we beg of you O God, remind us what it is to be faithful. As we struggle and falter and make questionable choices to try to feign peace in the midst of war—show us what faithfulness looks like. Remind us that while forgiveness is part of our faithfulness, So, TOO, Matthew 21 tells us, are righteous indignation, holy anger and the flipping over of tables in defense of the poor and marginalized. Remind us Holy One that Jesus showed us in John 8 that the taking of life in adherence to an unjust or misinterpreted law is WRONG and to challenge the system that creates these spaces IS faithfulness! Remind us, Mother God of the Jesus who intentionally reached across lines of racial and nationalistic hostilities to offer a woman living water when the law said she deserved nothing but His scorn. O God, show us that what is required from US as faithfulness is NOT empty gestures meant to appease a system that deems it appropriate to shoot us while we lie on our backs with our hands in the air and say “I don’t know.” When asked why. Help us to remember instead the faithfulness of this Jesus we proclaim as He challenged death dealing systems even unto the point of His own death at the hands of the system. And when we are afraid to use our voices faithfully as Jesus did, remind us that because YOU are faithful, HE defeated even death on that third day and because of that, WE have nothing to fear…NOT EVEN DEATH! And God, even reminded of all of this, we will stumble, we will falter, we will miss the mark, we will mess up, but we ask that You will forgive us for our shortfalls and continue to draw us ever nearer to You, making us more faithful every day. And in the midst of it all, we will be careful to faithfully give You all the Glory, honor and praise.
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