A Call for Lament

If you’ve been following news at all, you’ll already know about the terrible acts of racism and violence being done unto the black siblings in our country. Acts of police brutality, mindless harm, and local leadership defending the violence without appropriate repercussion. As a person of privilege, a white cisgender woman, and also the senior pastor of this church community, I acknowledge that it is not my place to speak on behalf of the black community. And that is not my intent for this time.

But it is my job to not stay quiet. It is my job to lead myself and others through difficult conversations, important callouts, and to educate myself to stay awake and be informed throughout my own anti-racism journey. I do not get to take permission to stand by and watch these terrible things happen right in front of me, and I hope and pray, that you feel compelled to check your own privileges as well.

I want to invite you into a space of lament, a word which means crying out. Feel free to share your own feelings of ‘crying out’, of lament, in the comments. Together, we use our voices to bring awareness, to show up, and to hold our community in love and justice.

God of justice and compassion,

We cry out to you today, from our homes in all parts of the world, because things are not okay. We live in a world that is being destroyed by racism, by injustice, by the continued harm of the marginalized. Today, we lift and name our black family, who is a continued target of this injustice. We mourn the loss of those killed by police officers. We mourn those killed for wearing a hood, asking police a question, jogging at night, holding a hair brush, planning a party, standing next to a car, looking out a window, sleeping, breathing.

God, we confess that we have not done all we can do to make your world a better place, to make this world a place where violence and hatred are unacceptable. We who are privileged confess that we can do more. In places where we are unaware, push us to stay awake to the harm being done in this world to your children. In times where we would like to look the other way, remind us that you call us like Jesus, to flip tables over in moments where we feel uneasy. In times we feel tired, help us to see our role in creating the kindom here on earth. When we want to be educated by someone else, push us instead to do the hard work ourselves, reading works by black authors, listening more and speaking less, and supporting black artists, creators, and thinkers through our resources. Through each phone call, protest, letter, social media post, conversation, and moments of education, we are called to be an advocate for justice, for antiracism, for love.

Beginning today God, we speak these words to you, as a means of interrogating our own biases, our own tendencies of ignoring the truth in front of us, our own dangerous ignorance. Create in us a clean heart oh God, as we cry out together that Black Lives Matter. As we cry out in prayer, in protest, in public grief. We need to do better. We need to show up.

In your name we cry out, we pray, and we act. Amen.

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