God of justice, In your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception. Through your goodness, open our eyes to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being. Open our minds to understand that all your children are brothers and sisters in the same human family. Open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others. Open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination, and their passionate appeals for change. Strengthen our resolve to make amends for past injustices and to right the wrongs of history. And fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Psalm 130: 1-8
R. We cry to you, O Lord, from the depths of the earth.
Out of the depths I call to you, LORD; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, LORD, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. More than sentinels for daybreak, let Israel hope in the LORD,
For with the LORD is mercy, with him is plenteous redemption, And he will redeem Israel from all its sins.
Reading from Scripture
Isaiah 32: 15-18
In those days: The spirit from on high Will be poured out on us. Then will the desert become an orchard And the orchard regarded as a forest. Right will dwell in the desert And justice abide in the orchard. Justice will bring about peace; Right will produce calm and security. My people will live in a peaceful country, In secure dwellings and quiet resting places.
An individual or group reflection on the scripture readings or the themes of racial healing and reconciliation may take place here.
In hope that the arc of history bends toward justice, we lift up our prayers for racial healing, saying: Bind us together, O God of love.
For the Church, that its prophetic voice may proclaim to all the challenge to break the hopeless cycles of poverty, ignorance, prejudice, and despair which degrade the sacred dignity of humankind, we pray:
For our country, that we might celebrate our racial diversity and the distinctive and rich contributions of every fiber of our cultural fabric, we pray:
For wise and decisive action on the part of local and national leaders, that the scandal of racism may be eradicated from our society, we pray:
For an end to the subtle racism of economic oppression which permeates our society’s structures and resides in many hearts, we pray:
For our faith communities, that they may not succumb to indifference or accept the status quo, but press on for fundamental change, we pray:
For the victims of racial discrimination, that they may be filled with hope for a more just future, healing from wounds received, courage to advocate for change and for peace, and the grace to overcome hated with love, we pray:
For those who work for racial justice, that they may be sustained in hope, empowered with courage, and filled with the grace to persevere in love, we pray:
Other intercessions may be offered here.
Jesus our brother, You revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds, and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins. Guide us, through the love you revealed, to establish the justice you proclaimed, that all people might dwell in harmony and peace, united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you. Amen.
Sign of Peace
All present may share an appropriate sign of peace.