the spiritual practice of lament

O Lord, how long?
How long will injustice plague our nation, 
Taking the lives of the oppressed
And poisoning the hearts of the oppressors?
How long will we believe that some lives matter more than others,
That grief for the lives of the marginalized is commonplace and unimportant,
A tool to be wielded in the hands of politicians?
How long will the very air we breathe be steeped in lies about who we are,
Some overt and blatant and others subtle but just as insidious?
How long will we point our fingers and say, “Not I!”
refusing to examine our own role in injustice
And the way our very souls have been damaged by our own superiority?
How long will rhetoric and political agendas replace true lament and right action?
How long will we go on living without regret or repentance,
Our willful ignorance a sign of the very privilege that is killing Your beloved children?

Save us from ourselves, O Lord.
Forgive me for my complicit inaction,
The entitlement that pushes me to push myself ahead of others,
My safety, reputation, motives, and behaviors unquestioned 
While others are robbed, shamed, mocked, and killed by the system of oppression
That I have neglected to acknowledge.
Forgive me for my part in it all.

Bring about the healing and reconciliation that You desire, 
Reconciling us first to Yourself and then to one another.
Jesus was blameless, without sin, and made Himself one of us,
Suffering at our hands
Yet He initiated reconciliation with us—
the broken ones who refused to see our own brokenness,
The ones who mocked and hurt and ignored the only One who was without sin,
Broken for the broken ones.

And now, the same story plays out again and again,
The story of the broken ones breaking others so that we would not have to face our own brokenness.

Forgive us, Lord.

Thank You for the willingness of people of color, 
though they have been hurt and disadvantaged,
To engage in reconciliation with me, with us—
the very ones who benefit every day from the system of oppression.
Thank You for their resilience, their grace, and their Christ-like forgiveness.

Thank you that where two or more are gathered in Your Name, You are in their midst.
Be in our midst today, and do the work that only You can do.
Turn our mourning to dancing,
Our sorrow to joy,
Our fear into faith,
Our despair into hope
As we delight in the richness of diversity that You created
Because it was good.

2 responses to “the spiritual practice of lament”

  1. Beautiful. This is so needed!


  2. Thank you Heather! I agree, it’s a conversation we need to keep having.


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