Words of Reflecting on Charlottesville/Intro to Prayer
Yesterday, I spent the morning on a football field officiating a football scrimmage, seeing young men enjoying a game that requires its participants to exhibit teamwork, dedication, trust, and effort for the good of the team. Despite the warm weather, I walked off that field with joy in my heart and a smile on my face for the experience I had enjoyed. That joy was short lived when I reached my car, and saw the notifications on my phone detailing the events of violence that were unfolding in Charlottesville. As I watched the events unfold the rest of the day, I found myself experiencing a broad range of emotions. Confusion, anger, disgust, sadness, shock… maybe you felt some of these and other emotions as well?
I am thankful to live in a country where its citizens have the right to express their opinions and beliefs, whether I agree with them or not, or even if I feel it is not okay to believe that particular way. Yet, when a person’s opinions or beliefs lead to the act of driving a vehicle into a crowd of people intent on causing harm… that no longer is an opinion, but is something else. Something that I, nor we as people who call ourselves followers of the Prince of Peace can allow to go on unchecked.
So this morning church, as I reflect on the events in Charlottesville, VA, or how many times I heard the phrase North Korea this week, and all the other pains and challenges I know each of us are facing, as one of your ministers, I have to be honest and say, I am at a loss for words to pray this morning. But fortunately, we are able to turn to words of those across the life of the church for when we have none, so this morning for our prayer time, I will be borrowing words adapted from a litany written by Frann Pratt in light of what happened in Charlottesville. As I pray, I encourage you to add your own words of what you are feeling, knowing that our God is a big god, one who hears us and understands us, even when we may not be able to understand ourselves. Let us pray.
Litany for Charlottesville, VA
Written by Fran Pratt
Used as a prayer at First Baptist Church, Monroe – Sunday August 13, 2017
God, we are sad to see the stark truth of demons that remain among us:
Hatred, bigotry, racism, and white supremacy.
We are sad to see flagrant parades of violence in our streets,
Flaunting prejudice and intolerance.
We mourn with our sisters and brothers who are harmed in body and soul
By these exhibitions.
Indeed, we are all harmed:
They are us and we are them.
We say No:
This can go no further.
We reproach these misguided souls
Resolutely and lovingly.
Help us not to bury our heads
Or resist the lesson before us:
Of the truth of the darkness that exists in our midst
Growing like weeds among wheat.
Help us to stamp out hate
By love and love alone.
Help us to preach peace on loudspeakers and pedestals,
But also in quiet relationships;
In art and poetry,
In song and dance,
In bread and wine,
In words written and spoken,
In pulpits and in alleys,
In boardrooms and porches.
The way of Christ is peace.
The method of Christ is love.
The means of Christ is invitation.
The ends of Christ are unity.
The way of Christ
Is the way we follow. Amen