My prayer for Pentecost

During this season of suffering, may we be quick to listen and slow to speak. May we prioritize the lives and well-being of our neighbors over concerns for vandalism, property damage and “order” as we have known it. May we follow the example of police officers from around the country who removed their riot gear and joined protests. May we clothe ourselves with mourning and rise prepared to directly act in ways that reflect the life-giving and community-thriving realities of Pentecost.

May we have eyes to see the terrible hypocrisy of angry, openly armed white protesters being allowed to occupy state capitols, while riot police greet angry, unarmed protesters of racial injustice with tear gas.

The knee that suffocated George Floyd is just one of countless knees that have suffocated our African-American neighbors and looted their lives, their liberties and their pursuit of happiness since 1619.

I fear these knees for the threat they pose to my two youngest kids.

I fear the long shadow they cast on my friends and neighbors who happen to be “people of color.”

And I fear their soul-destroying effects on those who wield them, consciously or unconsciously.

May we who are “privileged” no longer ignore, dismiss, downplay or perpetuate these sins in ourselves or in the world around us! May the Spirit who Convicts of Sin infuse us, our congregations and our communities with a holy restlessness, until that day when our Black neighbors and other “people of color” no longer fear contact with authorities…or wearing a hoodie…or going for a jog…or bird-watching.

Until that day, may their fear become our fear, may their well-being become our well-being. May we #RememberGeorgeFloyd after the media cycle moves on to other distractions in the days and weeks and years to come. And may we have the courage to ensure, each of us individually and all of us collectively, with our words, our policies, our actions, our cameras and our bodies, that there are #NoMoreGeorgeFloyds.

May his name be the last to join the unholy litany of victims’ names chalked by protestors onto the steps of state capitols.

May George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breanna Taylor and so many others rest in peace.

May the Spirit of God move the Derek Chauvins and Amy Coopers among us, and in each of us, toward the love-for-enemy-and-neighbor realities of Jesus and Jesus’ kingdom.

May the new era heralded by Pentecost now begin.


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