The jury delivered its verdict last week on the shooting of Philando Castile by police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez was acquitted on all counts. I wasn't there. I didn't hear all the evidence, but once again our community is in the midst of pain and conflict.
I needed church on Sunday and was grateful I had a place to go where I would hear words of challenge, words of healing, words of compassion, words of confession.
First, words from Patricia Lull, Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
One jury has spoken. Another jury is still out. That
second jury weighs our own response as people of faith.
We have so much soul work to do. Can we learn to
listen to the frustration of the African-American
community and hear in it an authentic cry for justice
at the most profound level? Can we take the hard,
consistent steps that all of us need to take to regard
each other across the lines of race and ethnicity and
class by checking our unnamed assumptions and fears?
Can we in the church hold ourselves to working
step by step to dismantle the racism that structures
too much of our communal life?
And then words of confession and forgiveness:
Gracious God, we thank you for making one
human family of all the peoples of the earth and
for creating all the wonderful diversity of cultures.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of
fellowship and show us your presence in those
who differ most from us. ...
Forgive those of us who have been silent and
apathetic in the face of racial intolerance and
bigotry, both overt and subtle, public and private.
Take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our
Break down the walls that separate us.
Help us to find the unity that is the fruit of
righteousness. Enable us to become your
Empower us to speak boldly for justice and truth
and help us to deal with one another without
hatred or bitterness, working together with mutual
forbearance and respect.
Work through our struggles and confusion to
accomplish your purposes.
I invite you to lift up your prayers for peace and justice.
I invite you to reach out for peace and justice in some way.