O God of our beautiful and too often troubled world:
We come in this season with the memory of a Thanksgiving just past, a memory marred by the news from Ferguson, Missouri, news that our human family is broken and divided along lines of race and class, power and privilege.
Our prayers go out to the family of Mike Brown as they grieve their profound loss under the glare of the public eye.
Our prayers go out to the community of Ferguson as they struggle to express their deep rage, the riotous rage of a few that could not be contained by the peaceful protests of the masses. Our prayers are with them as they do the hard work of rebuilding.
Our prayers go out to Darren Wilson, a man whose life has been changed forever, living with the burden of knowing that he ended the life of another human being.
Our prayers go out to law enforcement officers whose work is often hard and lonely. Our prayers go out to them knowing they are caught in systems designed to uphold the status quo, even when the status quo is unjust, systems that rely too heavily on military tactics and the use of deadly force, systems that use incarceration and deadly force disproportionately against people of color. Our prayer is that law enforcement agencies heed the call to reform and transform their practices and policies.
May these dark days be an invitation to examine our own souls. We know that we are conditioned by nature and nurture to seek out the company of those who look like us and to turn away from those who are different. Help us to understand that the roots of racism run through human hearts, including our own.
May we find the courage to speak the truth of our own fear that it may not harden into hate. May we be given the humility to name whatever privilege we may possess, now matter how small or great our privilege may be. May we be granted the wisdom to claim whatever power we may possess and use it not to harm but to heal.
O God of our growing and changing world, may this season of darkness be a fruitful time of gestation, waiting and preparing for the birth of a new way of life, a life filled with peace and justice for everyone.
In the name of all that is holy, we pray.