A litany for those who aren’t ready for healing

People gathered Sunday, June 7, at the site where George Floyd was murdered.

Four years ago yesterday, July 6, Philando Castile was shot dead by St. Anthony police after he was stopped for driving with a broken tail light.

One of the officers asked Castille for his drivers license and registration. Castile informed the officer that he had a firearm (which he had a license to carry.) When Castile reached for paperwork, an officer shot him seven times at close range.

Castile joined the growing list of black men killed by police.

Hundreds of people gathered at Luther Seminary for a Service of Prayer and Lament honoring Castile’s life, one of many such services. A particularly moving part was a reading by Afro Christian scholar Rev. Yolanda Pierce called “A Litany for those who aren’t ready for healing.”

I came across it again today. Given George Floyd’s murder and the events that followed, it seems like an appropriate to reprint it. Continue reading

Reflections on Ceremony, by Megisikwe

Healing Minnesota Stories member Bob Klanderud passed along this beautiful reflection on ceremony by Megisikwe, originally printed in the newsletter DrumBeat under the heading “Voices From Our Elders.” Bob got permission to reprint it. Some of the original formatting couldn’t be replicated. We added the photos. Thank you DrumBeat and Megisikwe.

Ceremony is not a series of memorized steps in a set choreography of stifling repetition.
Ceremony is not a strict protocol held only by a chosen few.
Ceremony is not an argument or debate over who has more authority and thus more control.
Ceremony is not about control.
Ceremony is not about authority.
Ceremony is not a bludgeon.
Ceremony is not a script.
Ceremony is not dead. Continue reading

Lenten Services that Lament the Native American Genocide, Slavery, and Acts of Racial Injustice

For Christian churches wrestling with racial justice issues, including the churches leading role in the assimilation and genocide of Native Americans, check out the website Lenten Lamentations: Preparing to Participate in God’s Mosaic Kingdom.

The first two lenten services lament America’s twin original sins: Native American genocide and slavery. Hopefully these prayers, scripture readings, and historic reflections give leaders in Christian communities ideas for future services.

The service for the first day of Lent (March 1 this year) focused on lamenting the Doctrine of Discovery, the legal and religious justification used by European explorers to take indigenous lands and enslave indigenous peoples. (It is based on a series of Papal edicts, and continues today in U.S. law.) In fact, March 1 this year coincided with the day after the anniversary of landmark U.S. Supreme Court case McIntosh v. Johnson (1823), which made the Doctrine of Discovery a part of U.S. law.

Here is the opening prayer. (Click on the link above for the full service.)

Lord God, during this Lenten season, teach us to come before you in humility, lamenting the signs that your kingdom has not yet come in its fullness. Help us to acknowledge our finitude and failings, and guide us into a journey of remembering rightly, repenting honestly, and responding faithfully. We long for the coming of your mosaic kingdom in Jesus Christ, our Lord, and invite your Holy Spirit to lead us now.

The Day 2 of Lent service laments the slave trade.

Continue reading

A Prayer for Standing Rock: A Service to Support the Water Protectors

A Native American Celebration on Thanksgiving Eve at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul.
A blue cloth representing the Missouri River was laid down the aisle of  Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul, as part of a service offered to support Water Protectors. The service was held Thanksgiving Eve.

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul held a Thanksgiving Eve service to honor, pray for, and support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

It was a beautiful service, and it included prayers and readings that could be modified and used for many faith traditions. The service is reprinted below. Continue reading