We gathered in chapel that often give refuge to the grieving, Davis Chapel of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Today, we gathered to give each other the shelter of our shared prayers for peace, reconcilliation, simple decency in a time filled with vitriol. The worst behavior in public seems to be amplified and sanctified by those who use the same language we prayed in in accents of Arabic and southern english. We can’t be chasing vile tweets of the powerful with prayers, but then again, where else can we begin, but find our way into common space and life up prayers?
As a Vice President of an Academic Medical Center, I am glad to speak in and honor the language of the many faiths of my colleagues, patients and neighbors. Today I pray in my natural language, that of my birth–and second birth—and as a follower of the One with no home at all, Jesus.
Gracious God, who came to us on the run, to parents of no count hidden in a barn. The Holy Refugee, despised for befriending the despised, a worry to those in power and distraction to those who trust only the power of politics and violence. You never voted and nobody ever voted for you; but you showed us the way of radical kindness, healing and disruptive truth that led to a cross and then life continuing.
Guide our feet that we not run your race in vain.
Forgive us for we know not what we do…when we are complicit with the powers that mock your love. Forgive us for we know not what to do when all of those people in our government who wield those powers are varieties of Christians, claiming you as I do.
While we wait for wisdom about that, give us today the heart for brave kindness so that we will call by name friends the government would give no name and tell us to fear. Make us crazy with hope that the truth will make us all free find the minor courage to act with mercy and justice for all.
Break our hearts wide open today and every day so that your love might flow in and then through, reconciling your children across all the meaningless boundaries that are less than the only holy allegiance that saves and makes whole.
In the strong and gentle name of the assassinated and risen savior Jesus, I offer this prayer, Amen.