A Litany for Those Not Ready for Healing

Hundreds of people gathered tonight at Luther Seminary for a Service of Prayer and Lament honoring the life of Philando Castile. After the service, many of those attending walked a mile and a half to the intersection of Larpenter and Hoyt in Falcon Heights where Philando was shot dead by a police officer who had pulled the car over for a broken tail light.

There were many moving parts of the service. One reading in particular spoke to the fact that privileged communities too often want to  jump to an intellectual conversation about healing and reconciliation. They bypass getting in touch with the deep grief of injustice and the stories of those who have been hurt. (We have heard this challenge from Native American leaders, too.)

The reading was called “A Litany for Those Not Ready to Heal,” by Rev. Yolanda Pierce, an Afro Christian scholar. It was a beautiful reading for Philando. It also would be a profound reading for Healing Minnesota Stories to adapt for our work. Here are a few lines.

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not run to offer a Band Aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, …

Instead … let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends ….

Click on the link above for the full text. Thank you Rev. Pierce for this wonderful reflection.

One thought on “A Litany for Those Not Ready for Healing

  1. Accumulated grief and trauma take long processes for the those wounded by subjugation, suppression, and transgressions of their personhood. Only deep, respectful, undefended listening can give space for the wounded to discover the dignity of their own being. This is a necessary first step to healing. Trust must be established first from sincere efforts to understand the wrongdoings and honorable restitution offered to salve those wounds. Our country must humbly acknowledge these wrongs and do the right things to heal our own soul of the violence that affects all of us.


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