O God of Jesus Christ,
the Middle Passage’s brutal transfer to Gadsden’s Wharf,
the human beings become chattel on the auctioneer’s block,
the overseer’s whip and the backbreaking work,
a war to break the chains and an Exodus with hope of a promised land,
the promise of freedom stolen by Jim Crow,
the lynchings, marches, and crosses that made a mockery of faith in your Son,
monuments to a lost cause,
the fire hoses, jails, dogs, and beatings of resistance,
the mowing down of youth at South Carolina State University,
the hatred that shattered welcome at Mother Emanuel.
We remember the injustices of the past,
and we know that these injustices are still with us
in the poverty, the incarceration, the disparities of education, jobs, and income that have caused people of color in South Carolina to remain behind.
In our remembering, O God,
may Jesus Christ,
who suffered the injustice of torture and lynching because of his stand for the good of others,
be our guiding star
to help us resolve to work for justice in our state
and to heal the wounds of racism that afflict us so deeply.
For from his death and resurrection, we draw the hope that injustice, sin, and even death are not ultimate.
For you, our God, are a God of life, of life to the full for all your creation,
and we claim our trust that if we are faithful to the ways of your kingdom,
you will allow its justice to break forth into our times and in our state.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
–by Father Alexander “Sandy” McDonald, Pastor, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Columbia
A Responsive Prayer
(A leader proclaims each petition with response by the assembly)
Leader: That the Holy Spirit will move the hearts of the followers of Jesus to engage more deeply the problems of racial injustice in our state…
All: Give us the mind of Christ.
Leader: May leaders at every level of government in South Carolina be graced with a spirit of concern for the welfare and good of all citizens…
All: Grant them wisdom, courage, and compassion.
Leader: May all who teach, mentor, and counsel young people in South Carolina receive the support they need…
All: May they persevere in their vocation to serve.
Leader: That the wounds of racial injustice left unhealed—the wounds of slavery, discrimination, lynching, disenfranchisement, segregation, poverty, profiling, and incarceration—that these wounds might be touched with the balm of honesty, conciliation, and restorative justice…
All: Make us instruments of peace and reconciliation.
Leader: That those who suffer because they are doing what is right on behalf of the poor and oppressed be given strength and hope…
All: Make their voices strong.
Leader: May the deaths of those killed in the Orangeburg Massacre and in the Massacre of the Emanuel Nine and the deaths all who have died as a result of racial hatred in the course of our state’s history move our society away from all violence…
All: May they rest in the fullness of God’s Kingdom.
May God give you passion for the cause of justice,
May God’s peace dwell within you to give you strength,
May God bring forth abundant fruit from the work you do for justice,
And may God bless you and keep you in his care now and forever. Amen.