You have entrusted to us, as Pastors, the care of thousands, whose lives and souls look to You as our only comfort in life and in death. Our city bears both the scars of our shame and the proud legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and being “too busy to hate.”
We come before You as a broken people and a fractured community. Your great desire and our deepest need are to be one, unified beyond difference and indifference, into an ever-growing family of faithfulness, but we have forsaken the sacred trust found in Your ways.
You have given us the very breath of life, yet we strangle it with fear and hatred. You have commanded us to confess, yet we rationalize and justify ourselves, hiding from the truth. You have called us to serve, yet we choose greed over generosity and self-indulgence over seeking the welfare of others. You have empowered us to bless, yet we use our words to tear down or even destroy what You have created.
We are lost. We are angry. We are confused. We are grieving. We need Your intervention. Send authentic, spiritual transformation.
We have not given up hope.
In this time of disease, we recognize how fragile and precious life truly is. Give us compassion to care, wisdom to cure, patience to endure.
In this time of unease, we acknowledge the original sin that is slavery in this country. Help us to eradicate the continued bigotry and superiority that fuels chronic injustice for so many of Your beloved children.
In this time of protest, we praise the peaceful demonstration of a different future. Point us toward those deeper partnerships for renewed neighborhoods, flourishing schools, and economic opportunity for all.
In this time of advanced technology, we admit our limits. We need more than a social media strategy. We need a new social contract. Guide our leaders with energy, intelligence, imagination, and, most of all, love.
We thank You, O gracious Savior, that You have not chosen us because we are good but to become good. We thank You for the vigilance and restraint of those who protect our security. We thank You for those who stand up for responsibilities as well as our rights. We thank You for a faith greater than cynicism and a hope that conquers despair. We thank You for the forgiveness that leads to reconciliation, for the kindness that leads to repentance, and for the joy beyond all circumstance.
Move us beyond sympathy into solidarity that is the gospel. Just as You came to be with us in Jesus Christ, may we now inhabit Your love with one another. May we look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others.
We are not forsaken, O God. It is still possible to “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with You.”
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.