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PRAYERS FOR RESISTANCE

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These are the  comments I made at our COLORS (Racial Justice Ministry) open house on Sunday, November 20, 2016, on the first year anniversary of my involvement in COLORS at All Saints Church in Pasadena:

About a year ago, I went to the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. One of the exhibits in particular fascinated me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The exhibit was about the different resistance movements that existed in the first century, around the time of the Jesus movement.

There were many resistance movements in the first century that were against what  Jesus scholars Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan call “the domination system of the Roman Empire.” However, according  to the exhibit, all of these movements, with the exception of the Jesus movement, were exclusionary. The  Jesus movement was the only resistance movement that welcomed everyone. (Martin Luther King noted that Christianity was a blend of many myths and influences, but what was unique in it was the social element.)

I’ve been thinking about this in light of my experience this last year working with the COLORS ministry.

On the Sunday after the election, I felt traumatized. However, after hearing Mike Kinman’s powerful and comforting sermon, and attending a COLORS meeting afterwards,  it occurred to me that possibly the greatest gift God has given to us is each other.

Jesus didn’t divide us. He didn’t leave instructions on who should be left out. He didn’t make anyone register before dinner.

I believe our strength is in each other. Our strength is in our diversity.

On my first year anniversary with COLORS, I am most grateful for this ministry, and will keep this gratitude in my heart as we move forward in the days ahead.

A PRAYER FOR RESISTANCE 

Gracious God,

We thank you for your liberating presence here.

We thank you for the gift of this community, for Mike Kinman, and Eric Law, and the leadership of COLORS. 

Empower us in the days head to take bold and liberating actions on your behalf. 

If there is anyone here who is discouraged, may we bring them to hopefulness. 

If there is anyone here who is traumatized or afraid, let them know they are safe with us, and always welcome. 

You have shown us that beyond the cross, the lynching tree, the internment camp, the man-made walls, the unspeakable cruelties so many of us have suffered, there is nothing that can separate us from your love.

Keep us mindful of your will for us so that, ending divisions here, we might be a true witness of the spirit and teachings of Christ, who extended a radical welcome to everyone, and taught us that we are all precious in your sight.

 Guide us in the days ahead so that our attitudes and actions will be aligned with your divine will. Empower us to resist all forces that would divide us, oppress us, or deprive us of the freedom we need to grow and flourish. 

Keep our hearts cheerful, confident that you are with us, as you promised, even unto the end of the age. 

Amen.

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A trio of anti-racist speakers  who shared their life challenges and wisdom at a COLORS open house in 2015: Regina Moses, the first black female school principal in Pasadena; Shizzi Akazaki, who survived life in a Japanese internment camp; and Lydia Lopez, who worked with Cesar Chavez and continues to fight for the rights of Latinos.

I love you all. You are beautiful.

6 thoughts on “PRAYERS FOR RESISTANCE

  1. Crystal

    Carolyn, how I appreciate this. I think many people have been traumatized since your election–something that has perhaps surprised many others. Even my country (and my city) has been profoundly affected. The challenge of course, is recognizing the intent of several people who voted was NOT to create the turmoil we see played out now, but to underscore other values that are important to them. It is so easy to use broad brushes in blaming groups of people but the balance is tricky to find. Yet, it is as important to do so as it is to recognize how much work there is to be done. Thank you for making an effort to do that here.

    Reply
  2. cstuder0@gmail.com Post author

    Thank you for your thoughtful response, Crystal. I agree that we must be careful not to demonize others– Jesus never did! He even used a Roman soldier as an example of someone with spiritual understanding. My intent was not to demonize, rather to show solidarity with the most vulnerable — gays, Muslims, black people, and Latinos — the room I was speaking to on Sunday. I was so honored to have been asked to close this open house by friends who are people of color. I was struck that in the days after the election that they were the first ones to offer words of encouragement, to remind us all of God’s love.

    Reply
  3. Denise

    What a lovely prayer. It speaks to much if the fear and hopeless I have seen and heard from do many. I am glad you shared it, and happy to pray it with your readers.

    Reply

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