Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Charm City, Where Is Your Charm? A Prayer for the People of Baltimore


Christ of cross and empty tomb, we pray for the city of Baltimore. We pray for people who have grown tired and angry after generations of despair and marginalization. We pray for those whose voices have long been silenced and those who have felt their only remaining option is to respond with the same sort of aggression that is taking the lives of their brothers and fathers, mothers and daughters, sisters and close friends. 

We pray for the echoes of saints gone before, whose voices remind us that violence begets more violence. In the same breath, their prophetic witness underscore riots as the response of people unheard. God who listens, help us to hear. Help us to heal. Help us. 

We pray for the families whose loved ones have lost their lives through the abuse of power and pervasive profiling. We pray we honor their pleas for change, justice, and reconciliation- movements fueled not by the same violence that claimed their beloved but through honest discourse and peaceful demonstration.

We pray for those charged to protect, who more often than not do their duty despite the danger. We pray for those who abuse their authority, distort their call, and neglect their obligation. Soften their hearts and confront their conscience.

We pray for local residents and businesses, whose communities are on fire, small business inventories looted, and homes vandalized.

We pray for schools forced to close.
We pray for teachers and educators in the classrooms that will reopen.
We pray for children of Baltimore
who watch
who listen
who learn from the activity of those around them.
We pray for a brighter future and safer neighborhoods, where they can play and laugh freely. 
We pray children find mentors able to lead them to be peacemakers and culture shapers in ways generations before have failed them

We pray for faith communities and churches to be at the forefront of transformation and compassion, reconciliation and hope. May pastoral leadership ease racist and divisive rhetoric that only slows progress. May new language of unity and understanding, solidarity and equality be proclaimed from pulpit to pavement.

We pray for the label of “thug" to be erased from speech rooted only in prejudice.

We pray for government officials whose humanity is no different than those who leave streets in ruins. We pray for the difficult decisions they are forced to make at a moments notice.
We pray their leadership will not be corrupted by political agendas or party affiliations.
We pray for the governor and mayor to work together for the benefit of those who elected them.

We pray for rioters, whose actions are misguided and mission near-sited.
We pray for elders and teachers, parents and mentors to embrace those whose behavior
breeds chaos versus change. May they dare to confront with caution and wisdom. 
May they remind disturbers, while their rage may be warranted, their response has a dead end.
We pray for protesters who march and cry out in peaceful demonstrations, that their witness gains more coverage and traction than public disturbance.

We pray for the media that covers the stories and unfolding events; may truth trump profit margins and marketing strategies.

Spirit who breathes new life, we pray for resurrection possibilities from Ferguson to New York,
Atlanta to Cleveland, L.A. to Baltimore. We pray for charm city to reclaim its charm. 
We pray for a better and brighter tomorrow despite a dark and despairing yesterday and today. Lord, have mercy. Lord, hear our prayer. 

Amen. 
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Note: Say what you want about sports, they often elicit prophetic voices in the midst of society's greatest and most challenging moments.  The response of executives from within the Baltimore Orioles has once again affirmed this truth:

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