O Sovereign Joy,
When we observe the creative work of your fingers, we are awed and blessed.
How sweet is the morning dew!
How comforting is the moon!
How faithful are the tides!
We pray against the destructive work of human hands that harm your creation:
the plastics that litter the ocean’s depths,
the smog that erodes the atmosphere,
the hatred that strangles our breath.
We name the injustices that are built into our own community: stolen land from Native peoples, the achievement gap in education, voter suppression, the landfill to which trash is exported, the redlining of neighborhoods, …
O Sovereign Love,
When we observe the beauty of your presence, we are humbled and rejuvenated.
How powerful is your righteousness!
How gentle is your compassion!
How holy is your blood!
We pray against the violence that humanity wields against itself in bitterness:
the power weaponized for personal gain,
the injury inflicted without remorse,
the blood drawn to prove strength.
We name those who have been assaulted or killed by government violence: Iyanna Dior*, Robert Forbes*, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, David McAtee, Chantel Moore, Atatiana Jefferson, …
O Sovereign Wisdom,
When we observe the power of your peace, we are repentant and restored.
How convicting is your truth from babes’ mouths!
How unequivocal is your call to communion!
How grounding is your spirit to our disquiet!
We pray against the rat race that deteriorates our personal and collective well-being:
the measure of human value by productivity,
the gnawing desire of consumption,
the hoarding of wealth by a few.
We name the dis-ease that haunts us and hinders us from the fullness of life: unlivable minimum wage, domestic violence, generational trauma, the false choice between work and family, the longing for approval, …
O Sovereign Joy, O Beautiful Love, O Peaceful Wisdom,
How glorious are you, and how mysterious that you care for us!
Bless us to understand your work as good and your image as holy.
Hallow these days for the work of healing and justice, we pray.
Amen, amen, and amen.
*correction: Iyanna Dior was assaulted by a crowd, and Robert Forbes was hit by a civilian driving a car into a crowd and later died; neither was directly assaulted by police. I added the modifier “government” for the phrase “government violence” after writing the names, and neglected to review the list of names in light of the modifier. That said, it is important not to remove Iyanna’s and Robert’s names from awareness, so I have not edited the prayer as written.
The Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg‘s book with co-author Martha Spong, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith), searches for faith through life’s trials. Rachel has also written Writing to God, a popular Lenten devotional, among other books.
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