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Prayer of Confession, October, 2020

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Written after reading Ibram X. Kendi's book How to Be an Anti-Racist with friends and colleagues in my Ph.D. program.


You made all people and breathed your Spirit into them.

You patterned us all in your image, to steward your world with goodness and care.

You gave us Jesus who showed us the way.

You sent the Spirit to give us power to follow you.

Despite these gifts, we fall short and violate your grace:

We do violence to your human family and call it society.

We welcome pretexts to ignore those who speak uncomfortable truths.

We add qualifications to the image of God in those we don’t know.

We comfort ourselves that we are blind to color when we are really just blind.

We claim innocence when we are ignorant.

We sort your sacred and immutable image into invented racial categories of pure, mixed, and spoiled.

We surrender our relationships to the custodianship of algorithms.

We believe that wealth is from our merit, but that injustice is not from our vice.

We divorce our individual actions from their collective consequences to ease our consciences.

We imagine that we are rational, unbiased, and compassionate.

We jail or kill those whose bodies we think threaten our way of life.

We would rather protect our property value than accept new neighbors.

We humbly ask you to forgive us:

For imaging we could take your place.

For amputating virtues of justice from virtues of piety.

For degrading your image in others and in ourselves.

For poking, prodding, medicating, experimenting, intervening, generalizing, pontificating, and controlling others when we should have been communing, learning, laughing, celebrating, lamenting, and loving with others.

Scour our lives with your cleansing love so that we will be:

Released from the idea that we are free to do as we please.

Disabused of our feelings of superiority.

Ready to repent at all times.

More suspicious of ourselves than of truth.

Stripped of the idea that “that is not our responsibility”

We confess these sins, knowing that your house is the only place in all the universe where justice and mercy can be fulfilled together. You will restore the oppressed, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and bind up the broken hearted. You will establish your kingdom in which estrangement will end and all will share in your great feast.

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