A Prayer for Pentecost- May 31, 2020

This prayer is by my fellow Mennonite pastor, Mark Schloneger. Much thanks for his permission to post it here.

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Image by Holger Schué from Pixabay 

Creator of our first breath,
Sustainer of our next breath,
Redeemer of all deep breath,
We remember those who are finding it hard to breathe.
We remember those who have died,
those who are suffering,
and those who fear
going out for a run,
enjoying a day at the park,
or even resting at home
because of the color of their skin.

We remember those with knees on their necks, literally and figuratively,
pleading “I can’t breathe”
to the systems that we have created, sustained, and beckoned
to enforce what we call justice.
They have names that we can so easily forget.
Their families don’t.
You don’t.
George Floyd
Ahmaud Arbery,
Breonna Taylor
Philando Castile
Sandra Bland,
Eric Garner,
Trayvon Martin,
Walter Scott,
Michael Brown
and many, many, many others.
We cry out for justice.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Comfort families and friends who continue to grieve.
Help us to honor their names,
by seeing and naming and confronting
the traces of white supremacy wherever it is found:
in our country, in our community, in ourselves,
in the Church,
this church.

Creator of our first breath,
Sustainer of our next breath,
Redeemer of all deep breath,
We confess that we feel so helpless, so powerless, so hopeless,
to do anything about the racism
that runs so deep,
extends so high,
and has gone on for so long,
that too many of us too often sigh the sigh of the privileged,
lamenting injustice but moving on, carrying on, holding on.

What else can we do, we think,
as we inhale and exhale the racist pollution that fills our country’s skies,
the poisoned air that we recognize only as “air” —
the “air” that everyone must breathe to live.
Forgive us our sin.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Creator of our first breath,
Sustainer of our next breath,
Redeemer of all deep breath,
We can’t go on this way —
with broken bodies and broken bones and broken windows on our broken streets —
breaking ourselves apart to protest all that is broken.
Give our government leaders, give us, the ears to hear the language of the unheard.
Give them, give us, the hearts to understand its origin.
Give them, give us, the will to be part of the healing and not the hurting.
Come, O Pentecost breath,
come from the four winds,
and cleanse our air.
Help us breathe.
Help us help others breathe.
In the name of Jesus,
come, O Pentecost breath.
Breathe.
Breathe.
Breathe,
so that, together, we all may live. Amen.

–by Mark Schloneger

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