Dear Eco-Stewards community,
We wanted to share some words and prayers with you from last night’s reflection on racial injustice organized by Vickie Machado (Montana ’11) and Kristen Young (Hawai’i, ’18) and moderated by Chesney Engquist (Portland ’13) who lives in Minneapolis, ground zero for the George Floyd protests. We invite you to light a candle and follow along in the litany, statement and prayer from last night’s zoom call. And all of you are welcome to join us every Wednesday at 8:30pm for our Reflect & Connect zoom calls.
The Leadership Team
Litany of Lamentation and Rage
Pentecost Prayers of Lament, Confession, Rage & Solidarity
Written by Rev. Rob Mark with opening four lines by PPF Activist Council member Timothy Wotring
O God of raging fires
O Jesus, who looted the Temple
O Spirit found amongst grief and protest
We come before you in anguish
We remember this season of Pentecost when the Spirit roared into that upper room as fire and breathed new life in the form of wild diversity of tongues speaking all languages. The fire brought all colors to life.
But this season we also cry out as the fires of racism burn deep among us, as once again we come face to face with those who can’t breathe. And all those of color who continue to die. With the backdrop of COVID-19 killing over 106,000 people in this country, disproportionately impacting communities of color – we’ve come face to face with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and David McAtee, — and our cup runneth over with despair.
To counter the spread of Confederate COVID-1619 and the white-men-set- fires of racial injustice- we long for the true fires of the Holy Spirit. As we see the Occupant in the White House further disgrace the office by unlawfully and immorally occupying St John’s Episcopal church as a mere backdrop from which he did not pray, totting a Bible from which he did not quote and – more callously – ordering law enforcement to clear, with force and tear gas, a path through demonstrators who had gathered in peace – we are in anger, shock and dismay. As we long for leadership to bring needed reconciliation and change, we encounter a President who instead further fans the flames of violence with words of domination.
Against all these sins O God, we lament.
Against all these injustices O God, we rage.
Against all this pain, we cry out.
We confess the sin of white supremacy – a sin too many of us benefit from.
We confess the structural inequality that too many of us fail to see.
We confess the spectrum of violence from police brutality to personal micro-aggressions.
And God, we come together this night filled with questions, concerns, but often short on answers and solutions.
In our lament, fill us with resolve. In our rage, fill us with focus.
In our sorrow, fill us with solidarity. Help us move with resolve and intention into the face of racial injustice in our country, church and own lives. And help us move with listening hearts that are ready to act – to move beyond the silence that is too often experienced as violence.
Bless those taking to the streets.
Bless those who are raging for change.
Bless those who are speaking truth to power.
In the face of COVID-19, keep them safe.
In the face of frightened and sinful powers and principalities, keep them safe.
May their voices be heard.
May lasting change come.
And may we become a part of that change, even as we are changed.
In the powerful name of the brown-skinned Jesus who comes always in the name of revolutionary love we pray these things,
An expression of our collective voice, written by Becky Evans Mark:
“We are broken. We are afraid. We are anxious. We see color. We don’t know how to talk politics. We are regenerating the landscape. We are relying on God. We are sitting back and listening. We all have a lot of common ground about trauma. We are feeling guilty, we are not wanting to take up space. We are overwhelmed by social media. We don’t know what to say, to preach. We need a safe space. We’re still worried about people dying from COVID. This is our experience in our place.”
Written by the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team.
Dear God, in our efforts to dismantle racism, we understand that we struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of the family are inferior and others superior.
Create in us a new mind and heart that will enable us to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.
Give us the grace and strength to rid ourselves of racial stereotypes that oppress some of us while providing entitlements to others.
Help us to create a Church and nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed People of Color where we live, as well as those around the world.
Heal your family God, and make us one with you, in union with our brother Jesus, and empowered by your Holy Spirit.