At our fall meeting this past September, the Candler Alumni Board reflected on what many referred to as the dual pandemics of coronavirus and anti-Black racism. Feeling called to respond in some way, we ultimately decided—rather than curating another list of resources or issuing a statement (both of which have been done so well by others)—that we wanted to write a prayer together. So here we offer you, our Candler alumni and community, that prayer—as a way of connecting to the Holy in the midst of these pandemics, and as a way of connecting to each other. We offer it with hope and love. May it be so.
A Prayer for Racial Justice
With thanksgiving, we humble ourselves before you,
Holy One, Creator, God of God, Light of Light.
Liberator, Bridge over troubled water, Waymaker.
The One who first breathed the breath of life into all humanity.
The One who created us in your image: beautiful, hopeful, loving.
Breathe in us once more your life-giving breath of justice, mercy, and love.
Hear our hearts, our chants, our prayers, our pain, and our hope.
For all who are angry, anxious, grieving, and in need;
For those who struggle to breathe and those who no longer, in this life, have breath;
For those who wonder, How long, O Lord?
Console us, we pray, with strength and courage for this long journey toward freedom—
this long journey toward justice.
For a system—
rooted in colonialism,
propped up by the Church,
and perpetuated by the myth of American exceptionalism.
A system that has oppressed black and brown bodies bruised, beaten, and lynched
by those who would assume power and control.
By those who would assume no responsibility.
By those who would choose to say, “all lives matter.”
Forgive us, we pray, for our individual and corporate Sin of racism,
and all of the ways we participate, knowingly and unknowingly.
Hold us, our systems, and our institutions accountable.
Give us the resolve to repent and turn around.
Create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us.
For our country that claims these truths to be self-evident,
that all people are created equal,
yet we know that all have never been treated equally.
Remind us of your truth that when one suffers, we all suffer.
When one rejoices, we all rejoice.
That not one of us is free, until all of us are free.
For our communities, for our church, for Candler, for ourselves,
that we may claim Black Lives Matter and mean it—
not for a moment—but for the movement of justice and equity;
for freedom and faithfulness.
Holy One, you call us to beat our swords into plowshares,
that we may till a new landscape for our world as we sow seeds of justice
and reap a harvest of righteousness.
Give us courage that we may share our lives in such a way
that together we create a new narrative
and a people that recognize the need for your redemption.
Lift up our hearts so that we may connect with other hearts.
Lift up our eyes so that we may truly see one another.
Give us vision, wisdom, and conviction
to create along with you a new heaven and a new earth,
a dwelling place—
a home, where hope abounds and
is truly welcome, known, loved, and free.
In your Holy Name we pray,