Prayers for #Ferguson – Tuesday
Yesterday I posted a sweet message about my child’s back-to-school day. Today I’m posting a prayer for the children of #Ferguson who were scheduled to begin classes today, August 19, 2014. Schools will remain closed this week.
O God, this morning, we lift our prayers for every child in Ferguson, Missouri, who is ready for school, to start a new year, the ones with shining faces, and new backpacks, and lunchboxes, and a sharpened pencils. We pray for each child who wants to read more, learn math, study art and music and science! And we lament that all that readiness will have to wait.
We cry out, O God, for the families who fear for their child’s safety, not just today, not just this week, but everyday. We lament with mothers and fathers and grandparents who must teach their children what to do if approached by police, because it is a life-threatening situation for them. Lord, protect and guard those children with your loving care, your power and might. Like Jesus make them wise as serpents and gentle as doves. And O Lord, change our world so that peace and stability are the watchwords, and put an end to suffering and harm and injustice.
In Ferguson the schools will stay closed until public unrest subsides. And that unrest will not slow until the demand for justice is heard and met. We plead with you, O Lord, for justice that honors the life of one innocent young man, who died with six bullets in his body. We plead with you for justice that honors all the innocent young black men killed unfairly, unjustly in the streets of American cities.
Michael Brown will not finish his schooling, or earn a college degree, or learn any more. We ask mercy and peace for his family and friends in their grief. With them we lift our voices to demand justice.
May we all learn from your school of love and justice and mercy, O God. In your schoolhouse we seek to learn war no more. Instead we want lovingkindness that works steadfastly against systems of injustice. We want to learn peaceful disruption for over-militarized police departments, and we want to study and practice repentance for white privilege run amuck.
Give us courage to see. Give us words to name. Give us humility to repent. Give us presence to stand firm.
Prayer for #Ferguson – Wednesday
O God, we lift broken hearts to you. We lift broken relationships – broken for generations by the evils of slavery and false ideals of white supremacy. And we ask your healing hand to rest on these broken places.
In sanctuaries all over the world tonight, your people pray evening prayers of peace, rest and forgiveness. Yet there is no peace, little rest and more harm than forgiveness in ferguson tonight.
So we ask for quiet breathing, good judgment, and empathy. We ask that every sister and brother might see a neighbor when they look across the barrier.
And justice. We plead your mercy, O God, for real and lasting justice.
Prayers for #Ferguson – Thursday
As the streets turn a bit quieter in Ferguson tonight, the restlessness and tension of the last two weeks flows into my heart.
The streets may be quieter, but the systems are still broken, racism still infects our social fabric, too much military gear is still stockpiled in police precincts, too many men will be pulled over for driving tonight just because they are black.
These broken-hearted places and harmful realities are not somebody else’s problems. Oh Lord, they are my problems. They are your problems. They are problems that belong to us all.
May we sit in each other’s company this night, with these realities pressing on our hearts, and God will you show us the healing paths forward?
Prayers for #Ferguson – Saturday
I’ve just returned home after spending the last four days in a monastery praying 3-4 times a day with Benedictine monks. They chant the psalms in each service, covering all 150 psalms in two weeks.
Tonight, I offer a psalm from the lectionary coming this week, for the family and friends of Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson…. To pray it, simply read aloud or silently, making space for each word and image. It gives voice to hopes for God’s protection from enemies – within and all around. Naming this hope places trust in God to give support and presence through each moment of pain and challenge.
1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From the temple God heard my voice;
my cry came before the Lord, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because God was angry.
8 Smoke rose from God’s nostrils;
consuming fire came from God’s mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 The Lord parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under God’s feet.
10 The Lord mounted the cherubim and flew;
and soared on the wings of the wind.
11 God made darkness into a covering, a canopy all around —
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of God’s presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 The Lord shot arrows and scattered the enemy,
and with great bolts of lightning routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 You reached down from on high and took hold of me;
and drew me out of deep waters.
17 God rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 God brought me out into a spacious place;
and rescued me and delighted in me.
O Lord hear our prayers. Amen.
Prayers for #Ferguson – Sunday
It is Sunday night all across America. . .
Some of us went to church today and heard prayers and sermons for the people of Ferguson. Some of us went to church and heard nothing about Ferguson at all.
Some people gathered on a sidewalk in Ferguson where Michael Brown fell to his death, bearing six bullets in his body. They gathered to memorialize his life with pictures, flowers, balloons, candles. Things we wish he could be enjoying tonight with his family. But instead…
O Lord, how long?
How long will we go on killing our own children and then blaming them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? How long will we go on refusing to see that we belong to each other? That every child is one of our own, and when one is harmed, all are harmed?
It is Sunday night all across America, and some Christians raised their hands, saying “don’t shoot.” Tonight we raise our hands in repentance for our complicity in systems that allow the innocent to die at the hands of those intended to protect. And And we raise our hands to plead with you, O Lord, that we might see justice and mercy for Michael Brown’s family and scores of other families who are suffering in grief this Sunday night.