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Beth Congdon-Martin

A Prayer for Lament

Most high and Holy God, draw near to us and hear the sorrow of our hearts, for we are overcome with grief and regret. The cries of the city and town grow louder with the misery of their people, for our sins are great. The image we hold of our land and its history has come into focus and we know it is false and not as we had imagined or dreamed or hoped. We have sinned greatly. We have created division instead of unity between sisters and brothers. While professing that all of us are your beloved children, we have created the idea of race as a way to describe who we are. We confess that we have separated out your children as ‘the other’ for the sake of gain, for power, money, and status. We have invented excuses for our privilege causing unspeakable suffering for others. Indeed, we have moved farther away from you and your purposes. We have dehumanized those you created and loved, those into whom you breathed your own Life and Spirit. We can barely bear the weight of it. 


Most gracious and merciful God, our eyes are opened. Finally we see what we have done over the centuries; we know what the seed of oppression has sown among us. For we suffer as a society from suppression of gifts unborn, fellowship denied, and the devastation of so many lives lost. Still, we have not understood enough. Revealing God, show us the way to recognize the continuing deprivations of your beloved people. In-spirit us with your overcoming power. Let the scales fall from our eyes so that we might find a new way of seeing. Awaken us with awareness of the deep pain and suffering of those who are ignored, side-lined, underestimated, disregarded, disrespected and dishonored. Help us, we pray to be dissatisfied with our comfort and privilege. Move us closer to the image of our best selves which we have seen in our Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is to Him that we have found hope for the future.


On our knees before you we ask for your forgiveness. With tears of shame we ask for forgiveness from our sisters and brothers. Understanding that they will only know the truth of our sorrow by our actions, we commit ourselves to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with you. We depend on you, the lover of our souls, and on this our beloved community to help us live this pledge we make, not counting the cost. Convict us again of our faith, trusting that you have, indeed, borne our sins and carried our sorrows. For we look to your mercy knowing that, in your insistent love, you came to us in the Babe of Bethlehem, lived among us, and revealed the path to righteousness. We devote our daily efforts to embody your life more fully. In that we have our hope. 


Precious Lord, we pray for your reign to be made manifest among us. For the sake of Christ Jesus, who himself experienced the wages of injustice, we pray in hope for all your beloved that through him our lives will be transformed. Bring us to the day of your coming that we might be found worthy to be called your children once again. Despite our weaknesses, make us and mold us after your will, in the name and for the sake of our redeeming Lord, even Christ Jesus to whom be all glory, honor and power, forever and ever. Amen.

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