Thursday, June 4, 2020

This is not a moment, this is a movement

On the tragic death of George Floyd, and the subsequent global protests....

Amid the riots of 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. What is it that America has failed to hear?” The question confronting us today may be not only what America has failed to hear, but what has the world failed to hear?

A time for confession, lament, repentance, reconciliation and resolve.....

Black Lives Matter
Your love encompasses all people.
To you all lives matter,
For all life matters,
And the way that we live life matters,
But at this time,
When the light of truth shines on particular injustice,
And draws our attention to the inequity of racial prejudice and discrimination,
We unite in solidarity to declare that black lives matter.
We proclaim this not at the exclusion of the lives or value of other groups of people,
But, because we seek to address this serious and unresolved issue,
Which is one of the many problems in society,
We intentionally single out those who have faced and continue to face
the effects of entrenched and longstanding racism.
We acknowledge hurt
We understand anger.
We feel frustration.
We grieve for the loss and suffering.
We stand alongside.
We kneel in solidarity .
We reject violence.
We reject persecution.
We reject empty words and promises.
In this time of trouble,
We call for peace,
But we call for change.
We call for justice, not revenge.
We call for action and transformation,
Of attitudes and behaviour,
And strategies which seek to address the core of the problem,
Rather than Band Aid fixes to placate the crowd.
In this we need your help and guidance
For, in our flawed humanity, there is some hope,
But equal failure,
So, only in your wisdom will we find a way forward.
As Christ, you lived compassion and taught is the way.
As Spirit, you work for reconciliation and healing.
Be with us now,
And with all people.
Soften hearts that are hard.
Strengthen wills that are weak.
Change minds that are set
Reshape anger into positive action,
That we might end racial injustice,
And in doing so, create space to address other issues.
This we kneel to pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Uniting Church in Australia, June 2020)

“I used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ in a social media post earlier this week. As happens each time I use the phrase, someone asks, ‘Why not just say “all lives matter?”’ Here is my quick response: When one of my four kids got hurt, it didn’t seem to make sense to say to them, ‘All my kids matter.’ In that moment, I embraced them and said, ‘You matter. Your pain matters. Your healing and return to health matters.’ That doesn’t diminish my love for my other kids. It expands my capacity to love as I live with another person’s pain.
Jesus did the same thing in his ministry. He didn’t say, ‘all people matter.’ He went to those who were hurting, who’d been denied a place at the table, who had been cast out of community and said ‘You Matter.’ Samaritans matter. Women matter. Tax collectors matter. Lepers matter. Did that mean he loved other people less? By no means. His life and ministry expanded the vision and capacity of his followers to love as they broke down the religious and cultural walls that had long divided people.”
(Source: Kai Nilsen, circulating on Facebook)

Video of thousands of protestors singing 'Lean on Me' by the late Bill Withers, in Washington.
Also this video of the same event with the crowd singing on its own.

This hymn-prayer, finished on Tuesday 2nd June, may be helpful for churches that are seeking to be strong white allies to support people of color now and for the long term.
(If anyone records this, I'd love to know - and be able to share for others to use)
ST. CHRISTOPHER (“Beneath the Cross of Jesus”, Frederick Charles Maker, 1881 )

There is a time for silence, a time to listen well,
a time to hear the painful stories others have to tell.
O God, may we who love to talk now hear the rage and fear,
and may we learn from neighbors who have long been silenced here.

There is a time for asking, a time to pause and pray,
there is a time to hear the prophets speak of God’s new day,
to hear the words of Jesus who taught welcome, truth and love,
to hear the Spirit speaking through the ones who shout, “Enough!”

There’s time for humble study - for reading and for thought.
God, may we learn from others of the justice they have sought,
And may we learn from those who bravely stand against the hate,
So when we’re called to justice, we, your church, won’t hesitate.

There’s time for good reflection, to ponder who we’ve been,
to think how our own attitudes have paved the way for sin,
to listen to the ones we fear - to folks we may resent –
to hear of Jesus’ call to love - and humbly to repent.

And there’s a time to work now - to boldly say their names,
to protest and to organize, to advocate for change,
to use our voices and to stand with those who are oppressed.
As we seek justice, hand in hand, Lord, may your world be blessed.

Text: Copyright © 2020 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:
Carolyn has made this hymn available for congregations but please make acknowledgement.

More resources for #blacklivesmatter on Sandy's worship resources website

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