Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
The Psalm turns our hearts to God again and again. ”How majestic is your name on all the earth!” When we go to God in prayer, we can lose all pretense. We can be honest about our fears. We can be open with our questions. We can trust in God’s grace. Prayer is that safe place for us to go, especially when very little feels safe.
The King James Version poetically declares, ”Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” I saw a video of 6-year-old Gianna Floyd. Gianna is George Floyd’s daughter. She was sitting up high on a man’s shoulders. The man wore a hat that simply said FAITH. A week before her father had been killed on a Minneapolis street. Now she looked at the thousands who gathered, praying silently and collectively for 8 minutes, peaceful witnesses as far as the eye could see. With arms outstretched, she said with wonder, pride, and love, ”My Daddy changed the world.” Out of the mouths of babes.
The Rev. Bill Johnson and I have invited you to pray today. Join the 104 congregations in the Midwest District, the 1,400 people who received the email invite, and all who find it on Facebook in prayer. Sit with God for two hours. Allow God to speak to your heart. Petition God on Gianna’s behalf that real change can come to make this a less divided, more just world. Please see the invitation below.
Dear Midwest District,
We invite you to enter into prayer in the way of your choosing from Noon until 2 pm Friday, June 5, 2020.
Issues of racism and violence are out in the open and on the streets around the country. The Holy Spirit gives breath to the declaration that Black Lives Matter. Despite the threats of violence, the calls for justice continue. God is at work.
Erin Hawkins, the General Secretary of the United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race, encourages the church to "Move Toward the Pain."
Now is the time for prayer. We pray for justice, accountability, and a transformation of our society through policies and practice. We pray for every person of color who feels threatened and unsafe. We pray for an end to the destruction of lives, as well as to the destruction of property. We pray to be open to the ways we need to change.
You may spend time in silence or ringing the church bell. You might connect with others through Zoom and pray together. Perhaps it would be a reflective prayer time of reading or writing. May God turn our prayers into action.
Reflect on the words of Bishop Woodie White in his 1996 General Conference Benediction:
May the Lord torment you.
May the Lord keep before you the faces of the hungry, the lonely, the rejected and the despised.
May the Lord afflict you with pain for the hurt, the wounded, the oppressed, the abused, the victims of violence.
May God grace you with agony, a burning thirst for justice and righteousness.
May the Lord give you courage, and strength, and compassion to make ours a better world, to make your community a better community, to make your church a better church.
And may you do your best to make it so, and after you have done your best, may the Lord grant you Peace.
Pray for peace. Work for justice.
Rev. Bill Johnson
Rev. Dean N. Prentiss