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Gracious and Merciful God,

We come before you on this “Silent Saturday” standing in the gap between the trauma of the crucifixion and the hope of what is to come. We are exhausted and depleted from more than two years of isolation, of not being able to freely move in shared spaces without caution. We are mourning the losses of so many while negotiating the unwelcome changes that this pandemic exile has brought to us even as we desperately try to embrace the new – new opportunities, new ways of being, new ways of caring for one another, new ways of doing life together. Help us, O Lord.

We are triggered by yet another unnecessary death by police of an unarmed Black man, this time in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are weary of the ways in which racial hatred and vitriol continue to erode the fabric of this nation, making the promise of America seem to be a dream deferred for far too many. We pray for the loved ones of Patrick Lyoya and all those who know the pain they are experiencing right now. We pray for our nation to break this confluence of systemic racism, inhumanity and violence by police who are supposed to protect and serve. We pray for Black and Brown communities, too often plagued by violence and many of whom believe we are not safe, including and especially with law enforcement. Lord, have mercy.

We lament the wars in Ukraine and Ethiopia and conflicts throughout our global village. Help us to know how to pray, how to live and how to act so that these wars will end and lives will be spared. Help us to not only look out for our own interests but for the interests of others. There is so much unnecessary loss of life and destruction. Give us the kind of compassion and empathy that will make these wars end and life to flourish in places and spaces death and devastation once occupied. Hear our prayer, O Lord.

We pray for beloved community and a more just society. We ask, O Lord, for Your mercy to reach us in these moments of uncertainty and the suffering that comes from living in an unjust society fractured by white supremacy, toxic masculinity, polarization, greed, and selfish ambition. We pray for our collective well-being and ask You to restore, refresh and renew us because so much has been lost. Grant us Your peace, O God, and embolden us to work for transformative justice in our world that honors You and uplifts Your people. Strengthen us, O Lord.

We praise You for covering and keeping us, O God, throughout this challenging season of our lives, and give You thanks for the reminder that the last breath is not the final say. As we reflect on this Silent Saturday and sit with the grief of Good Friday and what we’ve endured in our own lives, we also hope in the victory that is assured. Trouble don’t last always. Hope does not disappoint us. Joy does come in the morning…

In Jesus’ name we lift up this prayer. Amen.

-Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, NCC Chief Operating Officer