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Countering Hate

In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville, one may wonder how to respond or even how we as a faith community should respond in the face of hate. Karl Barth instructs us in remembering that… “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” In A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, we are also reminded

Peacemaking doesn’t mean passivity. It is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, the act of disarming evil without destroying the evildoer, the act of finding a third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice. It is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free…

 

Peacemaking begins with what we can change – ourselves. But it doesn’t end there. We are to be peacemakers in a world riddled with violence. That means interrupting violence with imagination, on our streets and in our world. Peacemaking ‘that is not like any way the empire brings peace’ is rooted in the nonviolence of the cross, where we see a Savior who loves His enemies so much that he died for them.

As we consider a response to recent world events, may we first begin with prayer, standing firm in the knowledge that God will be faithful to provide clarity of vision for the path ahead – a third way – one that is both compelling and deeply transformative in our lives as well as in the lives of our local and global communities.

Rich Villodas, pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in New York City, has drafted the following prayer. May it be a source of encouragement and hope as we prayerfully join brothers and sisters around the world in seeking to be conduits of grace, love, peace, and reconciliation in the face of hate:

Lord Jesus, your Kingdom is good news for a world caught in racial hostility. We ask that you would give us grace for the deep challenges facing our country.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord, we confess our anger, our deep sadness, and our collective sense of weakness to see this world healed through our own strength.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord, we honestly confess that our country has a long history of racial oppression, that racism has been a strategy of evil powers and principalities.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord, we confess that the gospel is good news for the oppressed and the oppressor. Both are raised up. Both are liberated, but in different ways. The oppressed are raised up from the harsh burden of inferiority. The oppressor from the destructive illusion of superiority.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord, we confess that the gospel is your power to form a new people not identified by dominance and superiority, but by unity in the Spirit.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord, we ask that you would help us name our part in this country’s story of racial oppression and hostility. Whether we have sinned against others by seeing them as inferior, or whether we have been silent in the face of evil. Forgive us of our sin.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord we pray for our enemies. For those who have allowed Satanic powers to work through them. Grant them deliverance through your mighty power.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord, we ask that you would form us to be peacemakers. May we be people who speak the truth in love as we work for a reconciled world.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

Lord we commit our lives to you, believing that you are working in the world in spite of destructive powers and principalities. Bring healing to those who are hurt, peace to those who are anxious, and love to those who are fearful. We wait for you, O Lord. Make haste to help us.

Oh Lord, only you can make all things new.

 

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