Our God, you who desire to be a father and mother to every nation, tribe and tongue. You who created all things and all people, You love all and sustain all. You are love and truth and justice, You made yourself fully known through Jesus of Nazareth, You guide us today through the Holy Spirit, You are Lord of all. You are Lord of men and women, young and old, black and white, gay and straight, male, female, transgender, rich and poor, saints and sinners. You died for all, so that all might live.
Today, we gather in our spaces longing to be part of a solution to end the oppression and injustices in our communities. We desire, as the prophet Amos did so long ago, to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. We desire for this flood of justice and river of righteousness not to flow outside of ourselves but to be living waters flowing within us and out of us.
We do not blame others or deny our shadow self, we know that we are both a sinner and a saint at the same time. We acknowledge that all sin and suffering is connected and that we, therefore, benefit from and contribute to the injustices that lead to oppression and death, keenly aware in these days, particularly of the oppression and death of our black and brown brothers and sisters. Your kindness calls us to repentance and change.
Father, the blood of our brothers and sisters cries out to you and you have demanded that we be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Forgive us that it takes murder, violence and acts of desperation by those oppressed to remind us of our divine call to peacemaking and the care of our fellow human. Forgive us for taking more offense from the peaceful knee of professional athletes that brought awareness to us than the violent knee of a professional police officer that brought death to us. Forgive us for disengaging from the injustice because we couldn’t see it or feel it in our privilege.
Give us mercy and understanding for the voiceless and victims of oppression. Give us consciousness to the law of sowing and reaping. Where we sow injustice, we will reap injustice. Where we sow disrespect, we will reap disrespect. Where we sow violence, we will reap violence. Where we sow justice, we will reap justice. Where we sow respect, we will reap respect. Where we sow peace, we will reap peace.
Give us courage to not simply pray and speak about your restorative justice, but to live and sacrifice for this justice. Give white law enforcement officers the courage and conviction to protect the nobility of their profession by speaking up and shining a light on racism and abuse of power amongst their ranks. May they love the nobility of their call to serve and protect their brown and black brothers and sisters enough to speak out and act as reformers within the system. Give those of us outside the system the courage to ignore political bullying and to elevate the voices of the peacemakers within the system, bringing reform and restoration.
You have shown us through the cross that the dignity of life must transcend political rhetoric and party lines because political parties, institutions, organizations and fraternal orders are not made in your image but every human shares in your matchless image.
In this season of pandemic, where you are teaching us to live differently, may we learn to live differently as it relates to matters of race in our communities. May we learn to look into the face of the other and be transformed. May our tables and homes be spaces of diversity and celebrated distinction. May our voices be filled with honor for those different than us. You have called us to a life worthy of the call of Christ Jesus. This is a life that bears the sins of our world. This is a life that loves and welcomes the stranger and the outcast.
Jesus has revealed that perfect love casts out fear. May we learn to love perfectly so that fear might leave our communities. Today, we ask for your peace to fill the hearts of family and friends of George Floyd and every other victim in the chain of abuse. We ask for your peace to fill the hearts of family and friends whose lives have been lost in rioting. We pray for the families affected by the waves of violence that continue to flow from these events and crash against their lives.
We ask for protection, wisdom and discernment as we protest and work for restorative justice. Remind us that our battle is not with flesh and blood but with the principles of darkness. Direct our anger down paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. Guide our work for restorative justice, that it would not be against human agency but against the spiritual powers that seek to destroy our humanity by denying the universal share in your divinity. May we see all that has been broken through the sin of racism, not only what is convenient to see.
Give us the courage of our calling to be a chosen people with a vocation to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you. May we love as you love. May we love our neighbor as you love us. May our neighbors know that our homes are sacred spaces where hope is found and restorative justice flows out into our communities.