It’s been a while since I’ve written about my faith, but not because I haven’t been moved by the readings and sermons at church. Today’s political climate has me treading carefully. I’m even hesitant to wear my favorite Christian jewelry–a small silver cross–because I don’t want people to assume my views on any of the hot topics of the day based on my religion. (I’m also hesitant to wear my American flag jewelry for similar reasons.) But this week I realized that my silence could be misunderstood.
Photo Credit: Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
This week I realized that it’s time to speak up and speak out, like my Bishop, priest, and other ministers of many faiths did in Charlottesville last week, when they joined the Charlottesville Clergy Collective to stand up against hate.
So, I am ready to speak up, but I don’t know what to say.
At time like this, I resort to Romans 8:26-27:
[T]he Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
So, Holy Spirit, take my outrage, my anger, my sadness, my despair, my feelings of betrayal, my fear, my confusion, my hesitance, my hope, and transform the tumult into prayers that God will answer in accordance with His love for us all.
When I am presented with an opportunity to speak up, I pray that I draw on these words from Luke 12: 11-12:
[D]o not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say. For at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.”
Whether I am at a loss for words or ready to unleash a tirade, my breath will be better spent if my words are chosen prayerfully.
I’m also praying this “alternative” confession prayer:
God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created.
We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will.
It reminds me that, even if I stand on the other side, I don’t always acknowledge the goodness in others that I should, and have benefited from evil done on behalf of Protestant Caucasians like myself.