The lovely and talented Brenda Grant offers an inspirational dance – reminding us that no matter what – we “Rise Up” Photo Credit Adeleine Sinsabaugh

Holy One,

The Psalmist cries out “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.”

Protect our hearts as we work for justice and peace—that they not become hardened and bitter or so broken that we stop loving our neighbor, ourselves, and even You.

Protect our minds as we take in all that is happening around us—wildfires, police killing Black men, mass shootings, sexual assault. Keep us, O God, from shutting down, remaining silent, becoming desensitized.

Protect our bodies as we seek to serve and to care and to give of ourselves one more day. Remind us to drink water, to breathe deeply, to embrace those we love, to find moments to laugh loudly and to find release in our sobbing and letting go.

Protect us, O God that we never surrender the joy we have in You, in creation and with one another.



Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/hers/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter, minister, spiritual entrepreneur, teacher, and life-long learner committed to the liberation of colonized peoples, centering the marginalized, building power and creating community. She lives in Chicago with her spouse and their teenage son (pray for us) and has two adult daughters and eight grandchildren (!—please keep praying ;)) Dr. Pagán-Banks currently serves as executive director of A Just Harvest, pastor at San Lucas UCC and Namasté UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary.
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