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God of the Black Woman

We call on your protection — from spaces that do not always apprehend the image of God in us, from systems that do not uphold our dignity.

Photo by Nsey Benajah on Unsplash

God of the Black woman,

We call on your protection — from spaces that do not always apprehend the image of God in us, from systems that do not uphold our dignity. We want more for ourselves. More than the exhaustion that stalks our days. We want to see our own faces for what they are: glory. Worthy of protection and tenderness.

So may the God who dwelled in the womb of a woman, the God who put their faith in a woman’s body, help us to befriend ours. May we become fierce protectors of one another’s flesh and bone, remembering that the physical is gloried. Make us suspicious of any faith that demands our death far more than it advocates for our life. In a world content to use our bodies as mere “bridges” for feigned unity or a means to productivity, may we be people of resurrection — people who refuse to give endlessly, people who believe we are worthy of care and nurture, people who believe we are worthy of bodily compassion.

May the God who spoke to Shiphrah and Puah strengthen us. May God remind us that in the face of oppression or intimidation, we don’t owe the oppressor our story or truth. We don’t always have to be the person to try to save the oppressor from themselves. We are free to protect ourselves and those who need protecting. As we do so, keep us from the kind of fear that doesn’t lead to wisdom, and grant us that wisdom which guides our souls from danger. May we learn a sacred intuition, becoming shrewd and knowing — people of holy rebellion.

May the God who restored inheritance to Noa, Tirzah, Milcah, Hoglah, and Mahlah grant us a sacred audacity to claim what is ours. May we understand our worth and believe in what we deserve in a world that demeans us. We have been trained in sacrifice so often that we have learned to numb our own hungers and desires. May we be filled. May we have enough. May we depart from the lie of scarcity and find a form for living that isn’t always desperately grasping for nourishment and safety. May we have enough.

And may the God who knows us and sees us and believes us, continue to help us to honor the sacred Black feminine. Guide us into communities capable of upholding and prepared to safeguard our dignity. Communities who can engage our stories — not for consumption or utility but because they know that in our faces, they will see the very face of God. And as we embrace the Black women voice, may we be believed. May we never feel as if we must prove ourselves but can rest in the security of our own belonging.

In the warm breast of the sacred Black feminine, may we be kept whole, may we be kept safe, and may we be at rest. Amen.