Lament and Prayer for a Nation

Lament and Prayer for a Nation July 8, 2016

The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.
 The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are sick,
because of these things our eyes have grown dim:
 because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;
jackals prowl over it.

But you, O Lord, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations.
Why have you forgotten us completely?
Why have you forsaken us these many days?
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;
renew our days as of old—
unless you have utterly rejected us,
and are angry with us beyond measure.

                  Lamentations 5:15-22

O Lord, our hearts are downcast and we know no joy.

The killing fields of our streets are filled with bodies.

Death and darkness stagger about like shadows to devour us.

We see light and it feels like darkness; we see hope and it makes us despair.

Where do we turn when our loved ones are shot down like nothing?

What do we do when our hearts fill with murderous rage?

What happens when all we want is revenge?

To whom shall we turn when devils stalk our spirits, dripping with blood?

maafamain2009God, have you left our side? Have you, the One who promises presence, forsaken us?

Are we left to stumble in rage and revenge forever?

Are we sunk only in despair?

Where can we go when no one has answers, when all scream and shout but say nothing?

Lord, your people have been strangers and orphans and forsaken in the past, and that is how we feel now.

Those who are our brothers and sisters of color sink in deep sadness. Those who walk in privilege are shaken and confused.

Where must we go, what must we do?

You God, ask us to return, to return in prayer and mourning; to quiet our spirits in the deep tears of grief. The shadows of our loved ones dwell among us even now, and they say, peace, peace, my beloved ones. No more violence for us and for our families.

Turn from your hatred and be healed, let the nation repent and be healed; stop the accusations, put down your judgments, turn to each other in love and tears and reconciliation.

Each one of us Lord, walks a road of deep pain. There is no one who does not know death and destruction and despair. Help us, O Lord, to hear that dark tune and let us be a welcoming tent to one another.

There is no one left out or left behind in your kingdom, O God. No one is excluded, no one shunned, no one lost, in You all belong, all are found, all are One.

Make it so, O Lord, even as we rage, even as we cry, even as drag about like those crippled by grief.

Restore, O Lord. Restore us to a great fellowship of color and difference and joy.

Return us, O Lord, to the dance of your love.

We pray. Amen.


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