This prayer was written for a community liturgy of reconciliation in a neighborhood following the police shooting of an unarmed black man.
Good and gracious God,
Author of life and lover of peace—
We come to you this day with heavy hearts.
Our neighborhood is under attack by those who would do harm to black bodies, by those who are threatened by the flourishing of black lives. We look to those sworn to protect us and we find no help. We turn to those elected to serve us and we find no consolation. Injustice, it seems, lurks around every corner, up every street.
Not only that, but our world is in distress. Violence is our daily bread, hate our overflowing cup. We have taken our pruning hooks and turned them back into spears, our ploughshares beaten back into swords. We continue to study war upon war upon war.
Children—right here in this neighborhood and around the world—continue to starve. Women are raped and beaten in our homes and on our streets. Boys and girls are bought and sold on the market, their innocence crushed, their futures in jeopardy.
Our earth also continues to groan, burdened unnecessarily by our greed for resources, wealth, and property.
How long, O God? How long will you leave your people to wander in the wilderness of sin and injustice, hatred and despair?
Save us, O Saving God, for our hopes are lost unless they are found in you. Forgive us, O Forgiving God, for our hearts are weighed down heavily with our own sins and the sins of many others.
We turn to you, Liberating God, for you are rich in love and you forgive us time and time again. And we say, “Forgive us, O God.”
For the times when we have been violent in our actions, our words, or our thoughts: Forgive us, O God.
For the times when we have chosen not to listen to one another: Forgive us, O God.
For the times when we have not taken good care of the earth you have entrusted to us: Forgive us, O God.
For the times when we have hindered another’s growth: Forgive us, O God.
For the times when our words and our actions contributed to injustice: Forgive us, O God.
For the times we turn to sin rather than community to satisfy our loneliness: Forgive us, O God.
For the many times we have failed to live into our calling as children of God: Forgive us, O God.
You are quick to forgive us, O God—+Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—for you are light and those who dwell in you are the children of light.
We make our prayer in the name of the One who breaks all chains. Amen.