Seminarian Lauren Grubaugh (pictured above left with colleagues-in-the-struggle Melanie Mullen, Winnie Varghese and David Walsh) was part of the counter-protest in Charlottesville today. She shares this reflection and prayer.
My Beloved All Saints Family,
I could tell you about the clusters of young, white men walking militia style through the streets of Charlottesville, clad in white polos and khakis, crowned with baseball helmets and motorcycle helmets, bearing clubs and Confederate flags and homemade Captain America shields. And if you want me to tell you what I saw, in the days to come, I will have gotten some rest, and some distance from the strange horror of it all, and I will recount this day when hate strolled through a city without remorse.
But you have seen this on Twitter and on TV. Mike has written provocatively and pastorally about today’s events.
And I am exhausted by the hate and the fear and the violence and the death. So the first thing I wrote when I returned home from Charlottesville was a prayer, because I needed to remember God after what I saw today.
I have struggled to pray today. The image of God to which I so often default — an image that has been instilled and reinforced by white supremacy and patriarchy — is a white, male god. Over the years, incorporating inclusive language into my prayer has helped me reimagine God in color and warmth and light. But today’s events (and the events of the last year), were a somber reminder that the racist, patriarchal god is still deeply embedded in my psyche, and all the more so in that of our nation.
This is a prayer to the God whom we have forgotten, and whom we had best remember.
To the God whom we have forgotten;
To the God who is not male and is not white;
To the God who takes no pleasure in violence;
To the God who is Love;
To the God who is tender-hearted and warm embrace;
To the God who is not deaf to Her children’s cries and is moved to tears by their suffering;
To the God whose law is love of neighbor, hospitality for the stranger, care for the weak;
To the God whose touch is healing, whose gaze is compassion; whose way is lovingkindness;
To the God who is Justice;
To the God who tramples fear and hatred under Her feet;
To the God who convicts our hearts, stirs our spirits, transforms our minds;
To the God who revels in the joyful dance of community and invites us to do the same;
To the God whose own child’s lynched body hung limp on a tree,
not by Her own hand,
but because of the fear and hatred of those human beings
who feared the kind of world they were promised would be ushered in
and hated the changes they would have to undergo to get there;
Our memory is so short:
Our failure to remember the sins of our parents,
Our aversion to repentance,
Our refusal to make reparations,
Is killing us.
Our souls are wasting away.
And black, brown, female, queer, trans, Muslim, differently abled bodies
Every day, so many.
O God whom we have forgotten,
We do not even know how to call on your name.
We have not seen you in the faces of our sisters and brothers.
We have not felt you in the pain of our neighbors, strangers, friends and enemies;
O God whom we have forgotten,
Do not let our imaginations be infiltrated by war-mongering forces of violence.
Do not let our spirits be colonized by the depressing fear of our oppressors.
Transform our minds that do not know how to think of you
Existing without these heavy chains we have placed on ourselves
and on each other.