Pray with me:
God of creation,
Our nation is in crisis.
We are more polarized than ever.
Neighbor is suspicious of neighbor.
Hatred, aggression and violence have escalated.
Even those who claim to follow Jesus take part.
Today, we choose to acknowledge our failures, where we have all too often contributed to the problem instead of the solution.
We acknowledge our pride and arrogance. We have been quick to speak, quick to get angry and slow to listen to others we disagree with.
We acknowledge our failure to follow the two greatest commandments: to love You with full devotion and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Instead of loving You, we have created idols. With weapons and vengeance in hand, many have erected large banners and given their ultimate allegiance to the person whose name is inscribed on them.
People who bear the name Christian, some of them pastors and leaders of world renown, once greatly respected in our nation, can also be found among them. And because of this, the good news of Jesus is confused and has lost its power.
Instead of loving our neighbors, we have treated them with scorn and hatred. We have selfishly ignored and neglected the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly among us as we throw caution to the wind. Some in our society and in our churches have chosen to reject public health measures for the sake of personal freedoms and religious comfort leaving hundreds of thousands dead in the wake of their choice and millions more sick and out of work.
Others are burdened down by acts of racism, discrimination, inequality and hate. Instead of compassion and empathy for these people, some Christians would rather dig in their heels and assert their 2nd amendment rights. The disconnect couldn’t be any more real.
Lord, let us not forget that whatever we have done to the least of these, we have done it to You.
Our lust for power, comfort and intolerance has caused so much pain and heartache in the very people we are called to serve. Lord, we repent of our selfish ways and we ask for Your help today.
Remind us again of the Way of Jesus:
Teach us again how to not just be Christian in name but in deed. You said, “they will know you by your fruit.”
Forgive us of our stubborn pride and hypocrisy.
Show us how to love God first and to abandon human idols.
Remind us again how to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Give us Your compassion and enable us to care for the least of these, for the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly, the lonely, the outcast, the marginalized, those suffering from bigotry, racism and intolerance.
Lord, forgive us where we have supported and provoked violence. We repent of our lust for power and tendency to cause pain.
Strengthen us to pray for our enemies instead of hating them. Enable us to withstand and overcome violence by treating people in the opposite spirit.
Help us to learn the necessary skills of communication: how to be quick to listen, empathizing with other’s pain and stories, slow to speak but more thoughtful when we do, and slow to get angry. As the Scriptures say, “for man and woman’s anger does not satisfy the justice that God desires.”
But when it is appropriate to speak out, give us wisdom to speak up and call out spiritual leaders like Jesus did. Teach us and enable us to call to account those spiritual leaders who have justified selfish gain and religious comforts in the name of the Christian religion, even in the name of Jesus.
And strengthen our inner resolve to not support political leaders who make a mockery of justice, ignore the rule of law, spread lies and oppress the least of these.
Lord, in a time when so much information is bombarding us, help us to discern truth from lies and fact from fiction. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see that we might give more weight to things rooted in truth and not simply to things we want to hear.
Help us Lord to reflect you again. Our neighbors are watching. Our enemies are watching. Help us to show them You. Strengthen us to reflect Your sacrificial giving, neighbor loving, enemy embracing, non-violent Way.
It is in Jesus name that we pray.
Photo credit: Andy Feliciotti
For those who do not know anything about the recent riot, here is some footage. WARNING: It is offensive, shocking and violent.
Video footage of the violent riot and assault on the capital below:
Video footage of speeches at the “Save America” Rally where President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and others incited violence on the US Capital:
For blogs and articles detailing and clarifying the yearlong events of 2020 that ignited, contributed and eventually led to the violence at the US Capital on January 6, 2021:
For the slippery slope of American Christian Nationalism: