January 17, 2021 Offered by Tom McPheeters
Creator, we have come through a week, a month, a year like no other in our lifetimes. Give us a break! We deserve a breather!
But perhaps a time out is not what you have in mind for us. These crises — an out of control pandemic, our federal government in transition amid intransigence and violence, people so divided we can’t even talk to each other — are not of your making, lord, but ours. We, the world’s consumers, created climate change. We, the complacent and privileged, tolerated racism and systemic oppression, here as well as throughout our country. We, the voters, allowed our government to spin out of control.
Lord, we come to you in a spirit of contrition. We do not so much ask for forgiveness as ask for your blessing. And the resolve to carry on, each of us to the best of our own strength and abilities. We can do better. We as a church can do better. We can be part of the change that needs to happen here in Albany, in our state, and country.
This is a time our country sets aside to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We do not so much honor a dead martyr as a living example and guide to our better future. Lord, we ask for your blessings as we strive to become the “beloved community” Dr. King talked about. Let this church become a model of community, with permission to everybody to speak their truths and be truly heard; with gifts and desires understood, acknowledged and gladly accepted. With fears and sorrows born by a community and not just one individual.
And let this church be a beacon in Albany. We thank you for leaders who uncover the depth of racism and the pernicious effects on people in our city. Guide us to hear them, not just on this day, but on all days, and to reflect, pray, and act.
In his long March toward justice Dr. King sometimes grew weary. Help us to overcome our weariness, our isolation, our doubt, as he did, through prayer and fellowship. And dreaming.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.