Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance, and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.From the Joint Statement by Archbishops of Canterbury and York: bit.ly/2XWVPJ8
Sitting to write today, honestly, I don’t know if I have the words but I know we need and want to say something – it is not time for silence. I am grateful for other people’s words in which I find my voice. For myself and for our fledgling church community, we stand by the statement of Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu. I am humbled, deeply saddened, angry, and ashamed. We all bear the responsibility, we all have a part to play. Today we say sorry for any way we have been complicit in systems or structures or personal actions that lead to injustice, for silence and inaction that allows prejudice to fester and remain. And say that we want to love, to listen, to stand together, and to pursue justice and unity that truly reflect the Jesus we follow and the value of every person. For Barking Riverside, for London, for every place.
Let this be the start of a journey in which we go deeper in honesty, humility and love. For me this means acknowledging and unpicking my own blindness from white privilege. For all of us, we pursue further unity and equality, shoulder to shoulder with sisters and brothers of every race and colour. In the midst of Covid-19 we have seen many communities coming together with kindness and care. Since moving to Barking Riverside I have been incredibly grateful for the desire and effort from so many residents to create a genuine community that is vibrant, caring, and united. But there is so much further to go. We need to help each other, hold each other to account, give each other grace as we begin to speak about things that we’re fearful to address but we cannot hide without harm. The beauty of the Kingdom of God is that we can have courage to always walk deeper into love and justice, bringing all things into the light, because we stand in the shadow of the cross of Jesus Christ and the reality of his resurrection. We need to grow to trust each other. We need to change.
We need to pray.
A Lord’s Prayer for Justice by Ronald Rolheiser OMI, shared by Pete Grieg.
OUR FATHER… who always stands with the weak, the powerless, the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the aged, the very young, the unborn, and those who, by victim of circumstance, beat the heat of the day.
WHO ART IN HEAVEN… where everything will be reversed, where the first will be last and the last will be first, but where all will be well and every manner of being, will be well.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME… may we always acknowledge your holiness, respecting that your ways are not our ways, your standards are not our standards. May the reverence we give your name pull us out of the selfishness that prevents us from seeing the pain of our neighbor.
YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE… open our freedom to let you in, so that the complete mutuality that characterizes your life might flow through our veins, and thus the life that we help generate may radiate your equal love for all, and your special love for the poor.
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN… may the work of our hands, the temples and structures we build in this world, reflect the temple and the structure of your glory so that the joy, graciousness, tenderness, and justice of heaven will show forth within all of our structures on Earth.
GIVE… life and love to us and help us to always see everything as a gift. Help us to know that nothing comes to us by right and that we must give because we have been given to. Help us realize that we must give to the poor, not because they need it, but because our own health depends upon our giving to them.
US… the truly plural us…Give not just to our own but to everyone, including those who are very different than the narrow us. Give your gifts to all of us equally.
THIS DAY… not tomorrow… Do not let us push things off into some indefinite future so that we can continue to live justified lives in the face of injustice because we can make good excuses for our inactivity.
OUR DAILY BREAD… so that each person in the world may have enough food, enough clean water, enough clean air, adequate health care, and sufficient access to education, so as to have the sustenance for a healthy life. Teach us to give from our sustenance and not just from our surplus.
AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS… forgive us our blindness toward our neighbor, our self-preoccupation, our racism, and our incurable propensity to worry only about ourselves and our own. Forgive us our capacity to watch the evening news and do nothing about it.
Do not put us to the test…do not judge us only by whether we have fed the hungry, given clothing to the naked, visited the sick, or tried to mend the systems that victimized the poor. Spare us this test for none of us can stand before your gospel scrutiny. Give us, instead, more days to mend our ways, our selfishness, and our systems.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL… that is, from the blindness that let us continue to participate in anonymous systems within which we need not see who gets less as we get more.