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.
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.
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 farm worker
The factory worker
The servant and
How come we want to shake it off
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
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.
Not “their” 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.
My dry white face.
These stories ask of me
They require my face,
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
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
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
For separating your world into white
How dare we?
You, who three-in-One
Dance in unity
O God, o God,
All of Your people.
Take our tears
And wipe the blood off our streets
That justice and Love
Make us into One
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,