Standing Our Ground…In Prayer and White Tears of Lament

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Today’s addition to my Standing our ground…in prayer series,  I’m going to share a couple of beautiful prayers from my friends Kate Schell and Idelette McViker.  Both are heartfelt and poignant lamentations and both moved me to tears. Today both prayers come from white women, because I believe it’s important for the African-american community to see the our pain, our grief, our fears are seen, heard, and carried by our Caucasian sisters. I didn’t feel like this at first.

When I put the call out for prayers from my friends I left the criteria wide open, “pray how you feel led” I said, and so many have come back lamentations, cries of pain and sorrow.  For a moment this week, I thought, “Oh I should have assigned certain people to pray a certain way”, but I’ve realized it’s important to create space where we can “carry each other’s burdens”.

Today’s prayers are powerful in that Kate and Idelette are praying from hearts burdened by the injustice Stand-Your-Ground laws. It’s meaningful because they are entering into a pain that they can easily avoid.  It is holy because they’re setting aside our comfort to extend comfort to the hurting with their words.

Today we’ll hear two more lamentations and then on Monday I’ll close out the series with a prayer of my own and some suggested next steps.

Kate is on of my Story Sisters and a very skilful Oxford comma user.  She’s thoughtful and we both share a deep, deep, love for cats.

Kate
Kate Schell is a twentysomething journalist and a lover of all things cat and most things sci-fi. She blogs about faith and other stuff at kateschell.wordpress.com.

Where are you among us, Lord?

I see a nation that says all men are equal but doesn’t practice that equality every day. I see the limits of my own privilege. I see myself as a child, thinking racism is dead. I see the many small ways I’ve kept it alive.

Let us see you here, when we are prejudiced and naive. Let us open our eyes. Let us listen. Let us let the truth change our sight.

Lord, be the rage at a broken system.

I see mothers’ arms empty as their sons are buried, fathers’ empty eyes as their sons are sentenced.

Let us see you here, when the grief surges, and when the flowers wilt, and when the coverage lulls. Let us see you in the casserole dishes and praying friends. Let us see you in cherished memories.
Lord, be the comfort for the mourning families.

I see Cain and Abel struggling still. I see triggers pulled and caskets closed. I see early graves and prison terms. I see the questions that are never answered. I see the ache for justice that never comes.

Let us protect the innocent. Let us act justly and seek mercy and curb oppression.

Lord, be the wisdom in our legislation. Be the power to uproot prejudice.

I see a Church that says we all have imago Dei but still too often keeps its silence and segregation.

Let us see your image in every face. Let us see in black and white and all the shades between and beyond. Let us marvel at the richness of our heritages. Let us feast together and not be afraid.

Lord, be the table where we all have a seat. Be the call to a better kingdom.

Be here, among us now.

I took today’s title from Idelette’s gorgeous lamentation, “White Tears of Lament”.  She is the founder and visionary behind SheLovesmagazine.com. Born and raised in South Africa, she is passionate about justice and equality. She dreams of a planet where no women or girls are for sale. She also dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. 

IdeletteWhite Tears of Lament

My God, My God

How come so many of us shrug our responsibility

For the tragedies and the

The bloodlines that run straight from our oppression

to these boys lying dead on the streets?

How come we don’t see the direct correlation

Between a position of skin superiority generations of us assumed

And filtrated through to the hearts of the ones we’ve diminished?

How come we don’t see the damage generations has done?

How come we dismiss it like it’s nothing?

Like it’s over and done with?

Just like we once —

and not that long ago–

Dismissed the humanity of

The maid and the gardener

The houseboy

The farm worker

The factory worker

The servant and

the slave?

How come we want to shake it off

still

Like it isn’t ours to deal with?

How come we turn our faces

And harden our hearts

Flip the switch

And scroll to the next screen

Without pausing

Asking our hearts to be opened,

To see the pain

To feel the pain

And to weep through the pain

With our brothers and sisters?

Because if the fruits of our actions are served up on the asphalt in our cities

The hatred pouring from lips

And triggered hands

How can we not pour out oceans of tears

To wash up with so many, so broken

By the systems we were part of creating?

How come we don’t eat the bitter fruit together and

Wail for the pain?

O, the pain!

How can our eyes be dry at a time like this?

How can we have our faces turned towards a heavenly sun

And not see the blood by our feet?

This is a time for tears

A season for lament

There’s blood on the earth

And not enough white tears to help wash away the pain.

But why, O God, do we refuse to fall to our knees

And weep over our children.

Our children

Not “their” children.

Our children.

Children born to the earth

And to this air

That we share.

Why are we not more shaken

By the news

Of death after death after black boy death?

My God, My God,

Forgive us our indifference.

Forgive me

My dry white face.

These stories ask of me

They require my face,

My heart

Turned straight into the sorrow.

O God, You say,

If My people …

Who are called by My Name

Will humble themselves

And pray … You will hear us

And You will heal our land.

But our prayers are empty

Without the humbling.

Falling at your feet

Asking your forgiveness

Now

For the way we have scarred and mangled hearts.

We belong to this sorrow together.

Forgive us, O Lord

Open our hearts,

Flood the dry land with our tears

Wash the blood from our hands

And heal our history.

Fill the chasms

With showers of our shared tears

Sorrow pouring out

Pouring pouring pouring out

Until the deep pain we have caused

Can be healed

Pouring

Until we have cried right into your promises

That you will hear the cries of your people.

And that you would forgive us our sins of omission

And division

For separating your world into white

And non-white.

How dare we?

You, who three-in-One

Dance in unity

And Love.

O God, o God,

Forgive us

All of Your people.

Take our tears

And wipe the blood off our streets

That justice and Love

may rise.

Make us into One

Human family,

Just like we’ve always been

But couldn’t see.

May the tears from our hearts

Wash away the blindness

in our souls.

Lord, hear our cries of lament and meet us with your comfort! I’m honored to host this space to bear one another’s burdens and weep with those who weep. 

Standing for Shalom,

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