We Bear the Weight of What They Could Not See

An African-American person bows their head, bare shoulders visible, holding both hands open with palms up.

Oh God of the black, the white, the brown and . . . the blue,
Oh God of Keith Lamont Scott*, of Justin Carr*,
and . . . of Brently Vinson* and of their grieving, troubled families,
Oh God of those in our streets
bearing the oppressive weight of armor and armaments,
and of those in our streets
bearing the oppressive weight of four centuries of injustice,
Oh God, of all people . . .

We acknowledge and confess today
our nation's original, founding sin,
how we took the stones of justice
and the sand of equity
and bound them together with the mucilage of racism,
setting a foundation upon which our nation now precariously rests.

We acknowledge and confess
that some of our grandest of ideals were put into place
by those unable to perceive their own utter hypocrisies.
Equality was not, in fact, self-evident to them
and we continue to bear the weight of what they could not see.

We acknowledge and confess today
our grief, our anger, our confusion, our mistrust, our anxiety,
our shame, our hopes, our devotion, our aspirations, our faith,
our . . . our dreams.
Our dreams.

Remembering that when the waters are troubled,
the healing can happen, we pray:
may we not call for calm or counsel false complicity
at the very time
when the foundations need to shake,
when what has been needs to be dismantled,
when we now know more clearly than ever before
that we are not, we are not who we have claimed to be.

Remove us from false reliance upon that
which cannot support a dream that is called . . . All.
Restrain us from futile return to a false peace
that would only undergird a stifling status quo.
Renew us, renew us, renew us for the long journey ahead,
a risky, unnerving adventure out into an unknown,
toward a dream seen now but faintly:
that one day, one day our nation will rise up
and live out the true meaning of our creed:
that all, that All are created equal.

If the old foundations cannot sustain us, then we pray:
endow us with faith.
Endow us with faith upon which now to rely,
the spiritual insight that would enable us to perceive
evidence of things hoped for
and the assurance of things not seen.

May we walk this challenging way with compassion.
May we no longer ignore or avoid the ways
in which we ourselves are impediments.
May we find the soul force that would sustain us
and the soul force that would propel us forward
toward that new day when justice will, at long last,
roll down like waters
and righteousness slake our thirst
with living waters from a mighty stream.

This we pray in the name of all that we know to be
good and true and beautiful.

*Note: Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police, Justin Carr's fatal shooting is still being investigated, Brently Vinson is—despite some dispute—being identified as the officer who shot Mr. Scott.