As a tradition that says God is always in action among us, reformed and always being reformed, the grace of God calls us to reform ourselves by opposing this country’s rampant racism and working for racial justice. Hence, a blessing to affirm “Black Lives Matter”:
Blessed be those who died due to 300 years of slavery, apartheid and ongoing racial discrimination here and throughout the American continent;
Blessed be those uprooted from Africa, stolen and violently taken away from mothers, fathers, families and land to the Americas;
Blessed be those who died on the way;
Blessed be those who arrived and resisted and kept going;
Blessed be those who worked in the farms and the tracks, whose hands were scarred picking cotton and whose bodies were fatigued beyond words every day;
Blessed be all forms of black resistance throughout history: rebellions, runaways, meetings in the bush, migration to the north, the Underground Railroad, Ferguson and Baltimore!
Blessed be every drop of sweat, every shout of praise or resistance, every prayer, and every song sung that kept black people alive;
Blessed be the black women who survived sexual violence by evil men;
Blessed those who were pillars of entire communities, protecting their old ones and letting their young ones live;
Blessed be those living in poverty due to centuries of oppression and racism;
Blessed be those who were somehow able to make it through the steel veil of racism and go elsewhere and find better lives;
Blessed be black kids who grew and grow up in systems of oppression, not knowing daily, if they will be able to go back home;
Blessed be black parents waiting anxiously for their children to arrive home safely every night;
Blessed be black parents who must teach their kids how to protect themselves, how to avoid police, and how to be attentive to the ten thousand ways racist innuendos serve as aggressive forms of violence in their daily life;
Blessed be non-black parents who teach their kids that black lives matter and that black people are human beings precious to God and to all of us;
Blessed be those who fight against the ongoing elimination of black people from this country by economic measures: budget cuts denying communities social support and education, and the consequent construction of jail complexes that shut down black lives and entire communities;
Blessed be those who fight white supremacy;
Blessed be those who refuse to accept black churches burning;
Blessed be those courageous enough to start any conversation about racism by saying, “I am racist and I must work daily to change that;”
Blessed be parents who do not move to white neighborhoods as a way of “protecting” their children;
Blessed be houses that invite kids of many races to play together;
Blessed be churches who instead of avoiding the complicit silence of white supremacy, talk deliberately and openly about racism and unbalanced power;
Blessed be churches where pulpits are filled with pastors openly fighting white supremacy and not hiding behind their congregations’ fears;
Blessed be churches that do not wash away their responsibility of sustaining a discussion of racism by barely mentioning news of black churches on fire in their prayer time, avoiding dealing systemically with country’s rampant racism;
Blessed be churches that find and give language to their people so they can find open ways to relate and engage in dialogue about racism;
Blessed are those who do their own homework and read this country’s history and make a commitment to the plight of black people without relying on those who have lived through it to always do the education;
Blessed be those who love blackness in its entirety, its diversities and complexities of relations, religions, expressions and social perspectives.
Now go in peace and bless those who are being reformed by the grace of God by fighting racism!
CLÁUDIO CARVALHAES is associate professor of homiletics and worship at McCormick Theological Seminary.