Every Sunday, we read the “Prayers of the People” aloud in church.
Today’s “Prayers” were specifically written for the fiftieth anniversary of James Meredith’s arrival to the campus of Ole Miss.
They are so powerful, so eloquent, and so timely that I had to share them with you:
In peace, we pray to you, Lord god.
For all people in their daily life and work, remembering this day all those with the ever present burden of racial intolerance, and those who are in bondage to their own fear and prejudice.
For this community, the nation, and the world, remembering this day the tragic legacy of segregation through much of our history, for James Meredith, witness for justice, and the redemptive and healing work of those who have offered themselves as instruments of reconciliation.
For the just and proper use of your creation, remembering this day those who continue to suffer because they are powerless and invisible, and the prophetic witness that gives them hope.
For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble, remembering this day the toll that racial hatred has taken on all of God’s people, and those who have suffered as they have sought to ease the burden of hate.
For the peace and unity of the Church of God, remembering this day the historic racial divisions that have scarred our church, and for those who have dared to dream of the reconciliation of all God’s people.
For Katharine, our Presiding Bishop, Duncan, our Bishop, and for all bishops and ministers, remembering this day the silence of the church in too many times and places, and the witness of Jonathen Daniels, Martyr, and all others whose faith has called them into the struggle for justice and equality.
Collect — For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son; look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi
Footnote: Johnathen Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian, murdered at the age of twenty-six for his work in the American civil rights movement.