Every so often, our church takes time to lament: to bring some piece of our fallen world before God and cry out for him to make it right. Just as the Psalms teach us to pray prayers of thanksgiving that we may not feel personally, to teach ourselves thanksgiving, they also teach us to lament even when a situation doesn’t touch us personally: a hurt in part of our church body is a hurt in all of it.
This lament was written into the shootings of black men our nation saw this week. Whatever happens with these two individual cases, it’s indisputably true that black men are treated with mistrust and violence more than other individuals.
How long, O Lord, will men of color live under undue suspicion? How long will they be met with the threat of force instead of any shred of trust? How long will they be killed by police officers at disproportionate rates?
We pray for justice to flood our land: every crack and crevice, from police encounters to jury rooms. We pray that all men and women would receive equal dignity, equal opportunity, in fact as it is in our laws.
In the wake of these events, God, we pray that anger and hurt can be expressed in peace. We pray for justice, not revenge; we pray for reconciliation, not retaliation. As we find ways to grieve and protest, let no other lives come to unnecessary harm. We pray these things, knowing that only your Spirit has the power to ultimately transform hearts. We know that only through repentance and reconciliation through Jesus will these things change forever. Our nation needs you greatly in this time. Have mercy, Father. Amen.