November 25, 2014
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
In the mess of Ferguson, make your name known. In the division and disappointment, make your name sweet. In the rage and reaction, make your name a balm. Be glorified through the winsome witness of the church in St. Louis. Be glorified through the saints–of every race and ethnicity–as we try to walk together and talk together in a more excellent way. Be glorified, O Father, as the Spirit reveals Jesus Christ and opens your word to the hurting and to the hurtful.
Your kingdom come.
Shine the light of truth wherever there is the darkness of injustice, ignorance, or misunderstanding. May your reign and rule be evident in our lips as we speak, in our heads as we think, and in our hearts as we feel. Cause truth to triumph over falsehood, gospel unity over devilish division, and affection over apathy. Grant us courage and humility, diligence and rest. May the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing in his wings.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Help us turn from the things of this world, the things that are passing away–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–and turn to your will so that we might abide forever. May we do your bidding here on earth just as the angels serve as your ministering spirits in heaven. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–may these things be cherished and sought after in every black community and in every white community (and every shade of community in between), in the suburb, in the city, and in the country, in any neighborhood overrun by crime and in any police department overrun by prejudice. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Give comfort to the grieving. Give safety to the innocent. Give hope to the hopeless. Give us judges and prosecutors and juries that are fair. Give us good laws, wise procedures, and politicians better than we deserve. Be a rock and a refuge to those who are scared or suffering. Help the weak to find their strength in you. Help the strong to see their need. Help sinners find the only Savior.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
As your people, may we never forget all we have been forgiven. No crime against us is worse than the crimes we have committed against you. Make us slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Forgive us when we fight with the weapons of the world. Forgive us for not weeping with those who weep. Forgive us for judging others with a measure we do not use to judge ourselves. Forgive us for speaking when we should be silent and being silent when we should speak. Forgive us for being hard-hearted and dim-witted. Forgive us for loving our comfort more than our neighbor. Forgive us for being too often indifferent to injustice in our world and unrighteousness in our lives.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Help, O Lord. We are tempted to despair, tempted to cynicism, tempted to bitterness, tempted to give up, tempted to assume the worst about our brothers and sisters, tempted to let commentators and cable news networks tell us what is real. We are sorry for the times we have been unthinking, unfeeling, and unsympathetic. We are sorry for the times we have rushed to judgment. We are sorry for self-righteous grandstanding and self-serving stereotypes. Deliver us from the evils of lawlessness and lovelessness.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
You are strong; we are weak. You are eternal; we are infinitesimal. You lack for nothing; we need everything. You see all, know all, and can do all. We see in part, know in part, and can barely do our part. Be wisdom in our confusion, victory in our struggle, and peace in our fear. We gather at the cross and lay our burdens down. No matter the pain, no matter the sadness, no matter the fog of friendship or the fog of war, every day when morning gilds the sky may Jesus Christ be praised. In whose name we pray, Amen.