As we say in worship every Sunday, “no matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” While we await the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, Peace UCC will offer daily prayers and vigil space. You are welcome, along with everything that might come with you, anger, doubt, questions, grief, hope that needs to be nourished, worry, and even numbness.
We will send out a daily prayer each morning via email, Facebook, and our website. We will also have our sanctuary open during our regular working hours (Monday through Thursday, 9a.m. to 3 p.m.) for anyone that need a place of safety, prayer, and a place to light a candle. If you are not able to come to the church but would like us to light a candle for you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on our daily post. Also, if you need to speak with a pastor, please contact the office. While we might not know what the next few days will hold, we know that we are stronger together, and that no one is a stranger to God, even as we need to remind the world that Black Lives Matter.
April 20, 2021:
SpiritGod, I humbly come to you on bended knees at your altar of perpetual grace and mercy with the petitions of your people in my heart. I come bowed low before you and only you, recognizing that you are the first and only creator and master of the universe and all that is in it. Only you control our sitting down and getting up. To you and only you I pledge my allegiance and obedience.
I come to you today with a grieving heart because all around our nation and the globe your people are suffering and dying from this plague that comes like a thief in the night robbing us of our friends, neighbors and families. Especially now, SpiritGod, we thank you for the breath of life that still exists in this cloudy season. Please hold us through this shadow of death and lead us to the pastures of resilience and the still waters of your loving mercy and healing grace. We petition you, SpiritGod, not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but ask that you especially and tenderly touch our sisters and brothers who are locked up and turned out without the resources or power to heed the demands of this season of suffering.
SpiritGod, in your mercy “listen to your lambs who are crying” out from the whelps of systemic indifference and the brazen idolatry of men who believe that they possess the life giving power of God. Their blows are relentless and debilitating especially in this season of sorrow and desolation. We humbly ask you to let them know that you are SpiritGod. Without presuming to tell you how to do your work, we humbly ask you to send a deep wind that unsettles their hearts in ways that either change them or make them move on and out of our lives.
SpiritGod, we recognize that in our weaknesses and our desire for security and things we have become an idolatrous people who bow down and worship before the altar of the experts of materialism, human disposability and cruelty. Instead of being stewards of your creation, we have become hungry warriors of death who plunder and kill the earth and all of your beings in it.
SpiritGod, forgive us for our transgressions and violations against you, each other and all aspects of your creation.
SpiritGod, we stand in need of your healing spirit. Touch our hearts, and in the place of greed that makes us gobble up everything for ourselves, replace it with compassion and generosity. Where there is selfishness that moves us to indulge in risky and unsafe behavior that threatens the safety and lives of others, fill us with caring and concern for ourselves and others.
SpiritGod, there is a malaise and restlessness everywhere in this land. We ask that you soothe our spirits and endow us with a pragmatic peace that makes us calm but not passive. SpiritGod, we do not know the time or hour that you will beckon us to the riverside to ride that big wave to eternity. When my time comes, take my hand and gently lead me home. SpiritGod, in your mercy hear my prayer!
Human-rights activist, public theologian, social critic, former student freedom fighter with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and Founder & Director of the SpiritHouse Project, Atlanta.
April 19, 2021: “The Flames Keep Burning: A Litany of Praise and Protest”
By Rev. Dr. Susan Smith – presented at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
L: God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, God of Rahab and Ruth and Vashti, you who have stood with us from the beginning of Time;
P: Lord, hear our prayer.
L: The arc of the universe may very well lean toward justice, but the arc is long and the struggle is never-ending;
P: Lord, hear our prayer.
L: Can you hear us, God? Can you hear your children crying? Can you hear your children with bowed knees and raised hands of praise and hope in Your sanctuaries, cry and protest the once again terror that befalls them in Your House?
P: From the murders of the Birmingham Four, to those of the Emanuel Nine, we remember, we resist, we call upon Your Holy Name. With the church burning of the old, those of the 1980s, and those of this time, we remember, we resist, we call upon Your Holy Name.
L: The blood of our children is in the streets, but You, Oh God, are our dwelling place.
P: Lord, in your mercy, hear us!
L: Can you feel the restlessness of those who seek justice? Do you hear the angry moans and can you taste the angry tears of frustration?
P: Lord, in your mercy, see us! Feel us!
L: From the beginning of time, we have known that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
P: We matter. All of us matter!
L: We know that to you, all of us are as magnificent as are the stars. When we look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you put in place, we pause because we remember that you put us here as sure as you placed the stars in the heavens.
P: We matter. All of us matter.
L: The powers and principalities seek to sap our resolve, Lord. They want us to stop pushing for justice, but we will not!
P: We drink from the well of Your power. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!
L: The powers and principalities want us to be quiet and to accept oppression. They want the wailing of the oppressed to stop.
P: We drink from the Well of Your power. We who wait upon the Lord will keep moving and pushing for justice!
L: As the deer pants for streams of water, so do we pant for justice. We pant for mercy, love, justice, and dignity for all of us.
P: Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. We matter. All of us matter.
L: All of us matter; we are all your children. Black lives matter.
All: We will praise you even as we protest, as we mount up on wings as eagles and claim the victories for which we fight.