Last week Shane Claiborne, Christian activist and no-nonsense millennial offered this prayer. It is more overtly Christian than I usually share in this space, but it speaks to my own level of frustration and hope for where we are in our world today…Stephanie
“This morning I had the honor of offering the opening prayer for Philadelphia’s City Council. I took one of our plows made out of the metal from a gun — and prayed for God to heal our hearts, our streets, and our world (and I did confess that I have been arrested in the same room I prayed this morning…). Oh, and yes that is a homemade suit. Here’s the prayer, although I did improvise a little. Feel free to use it!”
“PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL INVOCATION (9/28/17)
Thank you for creating a perfect world. Forgive us for the mess we have made of it.
We pray for those who are suffering today. We remember our family in Puerto Rico.
We remember all those who suffer from violence. The sin that goes all the way back to Cain and Abel. Where the blood cries out to you from the ground. We remember the lives lost – the natives, the enslaved. Heal the wounds of history.
We remember all the lives lost. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Freddie Gray. Eric Garner. Anthony Smith. You know their names. Each a precious child of yours. Have mercy on us.
We remember those seeking refuge today. You said to welcome the foreigner as if they were our own flesh and blood for we were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
We pray — For immigrants and refugees. Women, men, children.
For the victims of war and persecution. For the addicted. For the homeless.
For the imprisoned and the tortured. For the widows and the orphans. Give us compassion
We know that when we welcome them we welcome you.
Heal our hearts Lord. Forgive us… For choosing ourselves over others.
For prioritizing the rich over the poor. For turning others into enemies.
For trusting in the sword more than the cross. For disrespecting the earth.
For creating a world where so many have so little… and so few have so much.
For building prisons rather than schools and building walls instead of bridges.
For forgetting the most vulnerable among us. Forgive us.
Deliver us O God. Deliver us from the tyranny of greed, and pride, and power.
Deliver us from the contagion of fear. From the myth of redemptive violence.
From addiction to control. From the seduction of wealth.
Deliver us, from the idolatry of nationalism. The ugliness of racism. The cancer of hatred.
The paralysis of cynicism. The violence of our silence. Deliver us.
From the ghettos of poverty. And the ghettos of wealth. Deliver us from ourselves.
I pray for these leaders of our City O God. Break their hearts with the things that break yours.
Give them eyes to see those on the margins. Give them courage to overcome evil with good.
Help them to disagree well, and look for the truth where they might least expect to find it.
Give them imagination that they might think outside the box.
Give them a vision for justice that is big enough to heal both the oppressed and the oppressors.
Give them compassion for our most vulnerable citizens.
Let them be driven by love not by fear.
Give us dreams and visions… for our City. And for our world.
Dreams of your upside down Kingdom where the last are first and the first are last,
Where the mighty are cast from their thrones and the lowly are lifted up,
Where the poor are blessed and the peacemakers are the children of God.
Where we beat our weapons into farm tools and study violence no more. And where every person has “this day their daily bread”.
Make this a City of Love. Where all are welcome… no matter who they are or where they come from.
I pray all this in the name of the God of infinite hospitality who welcomes us all.
The God who was born a refugee in a manger and died executed on a cross, who knows our suffering and is near to those with broken hearts. Jesus. Amen.”