June 6th, 2021

In the past days we have bore witness to horrific violence, racism, and the devastating outcome of hatred due to one’s faith. What is our response?

Last year the birch tree on the church’s front lawn became a place where we could add our prayers in solidarity with our community and those who have suffered deeply. In light of the tragic act of terrorism in London, and in light of the discovery of 215 bodies on the grounds of a Kamloops Residential School, how are we being called to respond? Perhaps one place to begin is with lament.

Biblical lament shows us how to express deep sorrow, name suffering and cry out for God. “Laments tell the truth of the suffering that is smothering our worthiness, our dreams, our ability to work toward a better tomorrow,” writes womanist scholar Dr. Emilie M. Townes. “Naming these horrors in an unrestrained lament helps mold us into a people who respond with an emphatic ‘No!’ to the ways our nation and our communities of faith are turned into graven images of hatred and despair.”

Let us pray,

God, we lament the damage that our silence in the face of racial violence has done,
for the sins of racism that run through our lives like so many threads in a cloth.
Forgive us for the times we have given in to our discomfort, for the times
we have forgotten our own privilege and failed to stand with our black siblings, our Indigenous, and our Muslim neighbours.
Help those of us who experience white privilege every day remember that, with our privilege,
we are imbued with the responsibility to challenge and hold one another accountable.
Give us the courage to educate ourselves, to listen well,
and to use our voices when it is most needed. Amen    (adaptation of a prayer written by Clara Weybright)

My summer reading list includes the highly recommended book: “White Fragility: why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism.” May we commit to continuing the discussion, to feel the raw edges of our discomfort, name our privilege in the world, and work for justice, in the name of Christ our Lord.