A Lament

Newsletter Article from May 29, 2020

Let me say this at the onset. I don’t know what to say. And I don’t know what to do.

Most often when I don’t know what to pray, I don’t pray. But in other moments (when something bigger than my ego is at play) I turn to the prayers of others. Like the book of liturgies that sits on my nightstand — Every Moment Holy. Or I’ll do a search online. I will google something like “a lament about racism” … which is what I searched for on Thursday, and I found a beautiful prayer from a pastor within the black community at a church in Winston Salem, NC.

The prayer begins like this:

Holy God, a cloud of grief hangs heavy over my head and I feel like I cannot breathe, so give me the strength to pray … Lord, when the names of people who have been choked, shot and assaulted is too many to count I know that not one soul has been forgotten by mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins and friends. They remember… laughs and smiles … dreams and struggles … talents and personalities.

The prayer is beautiful and goes on for several more paragraphs. I tried to find the date of the prayer written somewhere in the post. And because it was the top result in my search, my assumption was that it was written sometime in the last 3 or 4 days.

I was wrong.

This prayer was written 1,420 days ago. It was written during yet another cluster of senseless acts of racism erupting in our country.

Here we are again.

Something needs to change.

WE need to change. A one or two day “nod” on facebook or instagram or twitter is not only insufficient, it’s insulting. Ekklesia, WE need to change. WE need to be part of the solution. WE need to be more courageous, bold, determined and fearless. WE need to be a sacrament of the world’s possibility. A sign of what the world can be.

If Ekklesia is your church home, pray for us. Pray for our leadership. Pray for our board. Pray for our Diversity Task Force. Pray that our faith community would rise up in new ways to address this unacknowledged pandemic with courage, long-suffering and sacrifice. Whatever it takes.

Our Racial Justice Resources page on our web site is filled with fantastic articles, books, videos, interviews and more … all designed to help us educate ourselves more fully. Please take advantage of it. But may none of us stop at simply acquiring knowledge. May we also learn how to act humbly, and work courageously, sacrificially and wisely.

Almighty Father, maker of heaven and earth, set up your kingdom in our midst.
Holy Spirit, breath of the living God, renew me and all your world.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

* Photo by SamuelMartins on Unsplash