Haunting & Holy
Confessing our personal sins, our brokenness, takes faith - we have to genuinely believe that we are loved in the midst of our mess (the connection axis), and that honest confrontation with who we are is the only way to growth and healing (the challenge axis).
And we are more than just individuals. We’re communal beings, and our communities have histories and sins that need loving confrontation as well. The prophet Jeremiah records this example for us - notice words like “our,” “us” and “ancestors.”
“From our youth shameful gods have consumed
the fruits of our ancestors’ labor—
their flocks and herds,
their sons and daughters.
Let us lie down in our shame,
and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned against the Lord our God,
both we and our ancestors;
from our youth till this day
we have not obeyed the Lord our God.”
- Jer. 3:24-25
What would making this kind of confession look like for us? What would it require? Author Austin Channing Brown, in her thoughtful and illuminating memoir I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, argues:
“Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort. It's not a comfortable conversation for any of us. It is risky and messy. It is haunting work to recall the sins of our past. But is this not the work we have been called to anyway? Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and inspire transformation? It's haunting. But it's also holy.”
Would you take a few minutes today to allow yourself to be curious and uncomfortable about the origins of our racism in America? Choose one of the three options below to learn a little about our ancestors and then with that story in mind, pray Jeremiah’s confession above aloud, ending with the words, “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.” Know that many in the City Church family are praying along with you today - this is truly OUR prayer.
Watch a 5 minute video from Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, powerfully communicating the U.S. trajectory from slavery to mass incarceration.
Read a recent CNN story about La Matanza, or The Massacre, of hundreds of Mexican Americans in the Rio Grande valley in the early 20th century.
Shifting closer to home, you could read about the impact of Japanese internment in California during the 1940’s.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.