God of justice, who sees into the hearts of all,
your Light outshines the feeble flicker of the torches of hatred
your goodness is greater than evil,
your love compels us to break the silence, to speak the truth
and to confess our sin.
With the prophet Isaiah we cry out—
“Woe is me, for I am lost!
For I have unclean lips
And dwell among a people of unclean lips.”
In the face of this continuing unraveling of the fabric of our common life
May our ears be closed to the ugly diatribes of racists and the weak excuses of the fearful
May we have ears to hear the stories of our neighbors of color
the respect to wait and listen as each story is told in its own voice
May we find the courage to acknowledge our privilege
and our complicity in the evils of racism,
and not to cease our striving for equality until justice rolls down like waters.
Our shoulders are bowed beneath the weight of our sorrow,
Our hands reach out to grasp a justice that seems illusory
Our hearts cry for a peace that seems so far off.
Our voices are hoarse, thick with tears,
as we pray for a way forward for all of your children
A way beyond racism and violence and privilege
For the courage to change our selves and our land
For faith and action that can bind us together.
We pray for our neighbors in Charlottesville— a city set on a hill
grateful for their solidarity and courage in the face of evil
For neighbors of every race, and people of all professions
as they gathered this day to rebuke the powers of evil
We pray for comfort for families that now grieve unbearable losses
For individuals who are wounded and broken in body or spirit
May your Spirit rise with healing in its wings
and bring strength and wholeness to each.
We pray for ourselves, that this hurt will not fade from our minds
before our hearts are broken open with Your passion for justice, mercy and love.
Show up among us in our cities, our neighbors, and our wary, worried hearts
A Stranger without privilege or place
A Justice beyond hope
A Peace that passes understanding–Emmanuel, God with us.
In the name of your broken and resurrected son Jesus, we pray. Amen.
by Laurie A. Kraus, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance