Even as our world continues to wrestle with the ramifications of COVID-19 and the economic crisis, we are bombarded with acts of escalating racism. As people of faith we must ACT NOW to end racism— action that is accompanied by prayer for guidance, healing, and protection. These posts are offered to unite our actions and our prayers for the sake of God’s justice.
Hearing and Doing the Word (James 1:19-27, NRSV)
The Scripture reading is drawn from Sunday’s lesson for August 9, 2020 ©Uniform Lessons Series, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
1. 19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Prayer For Racial Justice
Today’s prayer by Rev. Margaret R. Rose, Presiding Bishop’s Deputy for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, The Episcopal Church, is from “United Against Racism: Churches for Change,” ©New York: Friendship Press, 2018, p. 117-118. You may purchase the book through Friendship Press, on their website at store.friendshippress.org.
In these times, it might be easier to despair. Each day’s news offers ample reason.
Too often we see and experience the destruction of your world. The promise of abundant life for all is a distant vision. Free us from passive acceptance of this news. Make us actors with you in seeking your justice and love.
Open our eyes to our complicity in unjust structures and racial inequity.
Open our eyes to the systems that deepen the gulfs among us.
Open our eyes to ways we wound the image of you in ourselves and neglect your image in one another.
Help us love each other, not only for what we have in common, but also for how we are different. Help us see new ways of being and living in your world. Make us brave. For you are a God of hope, who makes all things new, again and yet again!
You are the God who created us and the world and called it good. Return us to your original blessing, where differences among us are occasions of celebration, beauty, and hope.
Transform us and give us courage to work toward abundance for all. May these prayers be the expression of our public voice, a word to declare that we are not bound by this original sin of racism but by the blessing of a Creator whose love ever reforms us and sends us forth with power and hope for a world made new. Amen.