One of the things lost in our technical problems this morning was a chance to pray together about the events that have rolled across our television screens in the past few days. As Christians, that should be our first instinct – to pray for the dead, for the living, and for the justice of God that we are told will roll down like waters.
George Floyd and Derek Chauvin – we must say their names, make them real – collided in a way that cannot have any place in the heart of a follower of Jesus. By one man’s action, the image of God was vandalized in both of them in those moments. For the one, we pray for peaceful rest. May his soul find perfection in the presence of God, and the honor as a child of God that he was denied in his last moments. And for the other, we pray for a turning of his heart, honest repentance and acknowledgment of the terrible consequences of the power he chose to claim.
In the days since, we have seen anger flow out of houses and apartments – places of isolation in recent times – and into the streets. The anger is righteous, but the way it mutates into further violence risks the loss of additional lives, which can only compound the injustice it is trying to bring to an end. As of when I write this, it appears that two people have been killed in the riots in Minneapolis. That is already two too many – let us pray there are no more.
Too often, events of this kind seem to leave us having learned little. I ask you to renew your prayers that we as a society will have a turning of heart, that the horror of the scenes played and replayed on television screens all across the United States (and, to our shame, around the world) will awaken in us a new will to work for justice. Perhaps by the grace of God, anger will lead to constructive change and confrontation to understanding.
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God’s peace to you all
The Reverend Dr. Howell C. Sasser, Jr., Rector