Raised Hands In Prayer and Protest For #Ferguson: Osheta Moore and a Defining Moment for the Church


Though it appears that some measure of sanity is being restored to the situation in Ferguson, MO, the repercussions of this moment in American history, as representing the systemic injustice toward Black people in the whole of our history, will be ongoing.

Osheta Moore offered this reflection today, and I think it communicates a truly defining moment for the church in the midst of this crisis. Will the church be able to raise her hands in prayer and protest? Will the church be able to worship the Prince of Peace unwaveringly and stand against the forces of evil courageously – even those forces in her own midst?

Here’s Osheta:

Today, I raise my hands, because perfect love casts out all fear and because Abba Father sees the suffering of his children.  I raise my hands to bear witness to my  brothers and sisters who were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets. I raise my hands because my love for them is restless. I can’t do anything tangible with these hands, but raise them high.  Lord, we are restless for change and anxious for hope.  We are witnesses of injustice. We are the women at the foot of the cross, empower us to stay through the torment so that we can be present to bind up wounds and then—see resurrection.

I raise my hands to God who out of his great love for his children heard their cries and carved a path towards justice when there seemed to be no way.  Make a way in Ferguson, MO, Lord. Make a way and drown the Enemy of your peace in your waves of Justice.

Today, I raise my hands because the truth is Black Lives Matter and black kids don’t have to be college-bound for their deaths to be tragic.   I raise my hands for the truth that Jesus identified with the poor, broken, marginalized, and ignored. I raise my hands because Jesus is our Truth and he will make us free.  I raise my hands because it is so true that He will empower us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks— we need only identify ourselves as willing truth-tellers.  So I lift my hands to receive the necessary tools of this Heavenly alchemy:  a humble heart, listening ears, love-spun courage and most of all, open palms that refuse the cling to bitterness, hate, or fear.

Thank you, Osheta, for putting into words what the church must do now, and never stop doing, as injustices and violences like these rear their ugly heads, interwoven as they are in the very fabric of our world. We must raise our hands in prayer and protest. 

We must do this, both of these, or else we die.

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About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is a writer and missional minister from notoriously non-religious New England. His book, Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter was released in 2012. Twitter & Facebook.