Even as our world continues to wrestle with the ramifications of COVID-19 and the economic crisis, we are bombarded with acts of escalating racism. As people of faith we must ACT NOW to end racism— action that is accompanied by prayer for guidance, healing, and protection. These posts are offered to unite our actions and our prayers for the sake of God’s justice.
The Wisdom of Jesus (Mark 6:1-6, NRSV)
The Scripture reading is drawn from Sunday’s lesson for July 19, 2020 ©Uniform Lessons Series, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
6 He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Today’s prayer by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is from “United Against Racism: Churches for Change,” ©New York: Friendship Press, 2018, p. 80. You may purchase the book through Friendship Press, on their website at store.friendship-press.org.
Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look—the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. (Ecclesiastes 4:1)
God, our creator, out of love and for love you made us. We are all the work of your hands. We walk the same earth and breathe the same air, and yet. . .
God of righteousness, it is your will that all people live in equity and peace, that all have a share in your abundant life, that there is liberty and justice for all, and yet. . .
God of life, you claimed us in baptism, buried us with Christ in a death like his, and promised to unite us with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet. . .
We do not recognize the full humanity in others. There is not justice for all. In our fear, we doubt the resurrection.
The hard work of truth-telling—and truth-hearing—is set before us. The painful reality that racial equity does not exist in our nation or our church cannot be ignored. Help us resist any rush to reconciliation before repentance. The oppressed will not be comforted until their voices are heard. The oppressors will find no comfort until they relinquish power.
In your love, compassionate God, keep us in this tension. In your severe mercy, use this pain to bring action and change. We pray this through Christ, our Lord, in whom the dividing wall of hostility has already been broken down. Amen.