We must do better — ending racism

The events of last week have left me drained emotionally. My soul is tired.

I was at a prayer vigil last night at a Methodist church and one of the pastors leading the prayer service asked, “How is your soul?” He paused, then said, “My soul is tired.”

My soul is tired because I knew something had changed in me watching the deaths… watching the deaths … of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In that change, I had a glimmer of hope: maybe this changes more of us as white pastors. 

As I’ve watched the foolish arguments unfold over the past few days, I’ve only grown more tired. Maybe it won’t change. Maybe we’ll still make our qualified statements… “If they just did what the cops tell them” … “If they just did this” … “Philando seemed to be a good man, BUT” …

My soul is tired.

The prayer vigil I attended last night prayed for the victims… all of them… and they also offered up prayers for the St. Anthony police officer who shot Philando Castile.

The prayer time included a walk to the St. Anthony Police Station. It was a walk of silent prayer. Hundreds walked the few blocks from the church up to the station. The leaders went to invite police officer on duty to join us in prayer. There wasn’t a response, but the group prayed.

A couple of days after some protests had turned violent in St. Paul, it was deeply moving to see a powerful prayer walk, prayers offered in repentance and healing, and all done with quiet demeanor. Beautiful calm.

My soul is tired.

My soul must find its strength in the Lord. Out of his strength, I find a way to stay awake to these issues. I don’t want to be lulled to sleep again.

Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for my silence. Forgive me for my inaction. I have been passionate about many other issues, but this one has been dormant. Forgive me! Let my soul find rest in you alone. 

Open my ears to stories of those oppressed. Forgive me for the “Yeah… but” statements I have thought in my mind or spoken out loud. Let me LISTEN. Let me weep. Let me FEEL. 

Lord, let me ACT. Let me advocate. Let me be a voice. Let me give aid in whatever way HELPS. 

Let your Kingdom come… here… now. In power. Amen. 


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