My Holy Faith Brothers and Sisters,
How does one respond to events that are as tragic and disturbing as what we have witnessed in our country the past few days, weeks, and months?
While there will necessarily be a call to a variety of actions and responses to the injustice and the racism, the hatred and the violence we must eschew, our Christian tradition offers us the prayer of lament. This prayer gives us a way of being with God and with each other during times of deep and incomprehensible loss.
Please pray this lament alone or with your families, and join me tomorrow evening for Compline at 8pm click here where we will pray it together. It is written and offered from within the black community by Rev. Prince Rivers, senior pastor of Union Baptist Church in Durham Salem. Let it lead us in opening to God together during these difficult days.
A Prayer of Lament
Who Cannot Breathe
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. I raise my hands toward the sky and I lift my eyes to the hills which is where my help comes from. 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.
Now these men and women are gone. Father, how long must we listen to the cries and screams as blood stains the sidewalk? How many videos must we watch before we begin to see a change?
Help me, God. Help us. Help the people of St. Paul, MN. Help Baton Rouge, LA. Help our nation. Help us examine ourselves. Help those of us who are sad and angry not to let these deaths be in vain. We do not pray for vengeance, but we do thirst for justice. We hope for healing between neighbors and officers called to protect and serve. We long for the day when young men will live long enough to be old men and parents will not have to say ‘good-bye’ too soon.
My hope is in you, God. Deliver me from all my fears. O God, come quickly to help us. O Lord, come quickly to save us. In the name of the one who came that we might have life and have life more abundantly.