this our cry today

This day, we pray for
our country and its culture—
in which we have armed the people with military hardware
and so want and need the police to have as good
if not better
than what’s out on the street, right?—

a country and culture in which we have
marketed stories of violence
in the service of justice and righteousness,
and yet seem surprised that the ensuing cycle
is one of just violence,
and it is a downward spiral
into the grief and the anger
of mothers and fathers
family and friends
of those swept away.

We have allowed a culture—
participated in shaping a culture—
benefitted from a culture,
in which people of color
are viewed with suspicion and fear—
are pulled over more—
arrested more—
convicted more—
jailed more—
killed more—

in which white privilege,
nothing to defend,
is nonetheless enjoyed—
if often unconsciously—

in which it is us and them—and not us,
in which division and inequality
undermine liberty and justice for all—

with the taken-for-granteds we don’t question,
the assumptions of freedom and opportunity
that form the dream of this country
that are not true—
that are not true
for too many of its citizens.

We are citizens of a country and a culture
in which anger has grown and continues to grow—
a country and a culture in too many ways
essentially incompatible
with Your will on earth as it is in heaven, our God—
with parents teaching children rules not written on any books,
but indelibly in minds, on hearts and souls,
rules indicating some lives here are worth more than others—
some people matter less than others—
a country and a culture in and at which You, our God, weep.

This we confess.

May our repentance, God,
lead us into committed relationships—
into deeper relationships with them
to learn from them
the others who are different—
those who have so much to teach us,
to create a better, stronger us—
undermining fear and anger and inequality and injustice.

For that is Your story—
and ours, if we claim You
with intent and integrity.

This our cry today—
prayed in the name of Jesus,
who lived the tension
inherent to Your word in our world,

amen.

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