Pastoral Reflections on George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Current Events
Father--you are the creator of the heavens, of the earth and all that dwells within. You are the sustainer of life, the provider of all our needs and the great healer--our Jehovah Rapha. You, likewise, are the God of Peace and the God who promises to give comfort to his people...so it is to you that we look in this time even as we ask the question of the Psalmist in Psalm 21--"where does my help come from?” Please Lord, hear our cry and answer our prayers.
We ask you today as Psalm 46 reminds us “to be our refuge and strength” because it does feel like the earth is giving way, and the mountains are falling into the sea where its waters roar and foam. Months of Covid-19 have worn us down, created loneliness, heightened fear and mistrust--this disease which has so greatly impacted the elderly, the infirmed and communities of people that are most vulnerable. The reality of death has been brought near to us from this disease--we ask yet again aloud, Lord, “where does our help come from?”
Father, help us as the Psalmist did to lift our eyes to the hill so that we can clearly see that our help comes from you. We ask this especially now at a time when many in our country and our community and our church feel the deep sting of the unjust and unnecessary deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. We ask you to give comfort to their families.
Lord, we ask you to forgive those of us who in our hearts know that racism has taken up residence and like the idols of ancient Israel we have hidden our racial biases and fears and not destroyed them. We repent of the way we try to destroy the image of God in others when we judge based on race or language or socio-economic status. We repent, Lord of our inaction when justice demands that we do something and yet we don’t. For the times, as you said in Isaiah, we have hid ourselves from our own flesh. Father, would you please forgive us and restore us?
There are those in our church family, who have been the object of racial injustice through both words and actions. Father, we ask that you would express your love for them in deeply personal and tangible ways during this time that brings up those hurts yet again.
We can’t help but long for the restoration of all things and for Jesus' quick return as the days seem to grow grimmer. Jesus, please return quickly. At the same time, we are hopeful as we wait to see how your kingdom will be revealed on earth as you mobilize your church and as you make crooked paths straight and smooth over rough ground.
We know that breaking of the chains of injustice including the generational cycles of racism was accomplished through Jesus' work on the cross but we live in the already of the defeat of sin but the not yet of your return so we ask for the faith to believe what we know and to act on what we believe.
Finally, we thank you for the many promises of the Gospel including that our mourning will turn to dancing--that joy will come in the morning--that your mercies are new each day for us and that nothing, nothing...not police brutality, not corrupt systems, not racial injustice, not even death--nothing will separate us from the love of God.
It is in the name of Jesus who won the victory over death and sin on the cross and secured our salvation that I pray--Amen.