by Dave Gustafson (read aloud in St. Louis's CWE Church, 13 August 2017)
Dear Lord God and Heavenly Father, we come before You this morning with heavy hearts over the violence and hatred all around us, but especially what we have witnessed these past days in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The images are especially painful for us here in St. Louis, as we recall and mourn the tragic death of Michael Brown, 3 years ago this week.
Lord, on behalf of myself and many others in this room, I confess the unintentional Sin of Privilege, based on having traits that our society values, such as skin color, upbringing, education, and wealth. And I grieve with Your Son Jesus over the evil fruits it brings: Racism, Division, Hostility, Hatred, and feelings of Superiority. All such Privilege, but especially White Privilege, is a founding principle of our broken socioeconomic systems. As compliant participants in these systems – however unintentional – our thoughts, words, and deeds become every bit as hateful and hurtful as those of the cowardly mobs of White Supremacists gathered in Charlottesville.
Father, we confess this Sin of Privilege to you now and pray that you would give us true hearts of Repentance and Compassion as we embrace all of our dear brothers and sisters who live without such Privilege. For it is they who bear the inescapable and painful weight of this sin every day. And may we all “Get Woke,” just as Isaiah implored Israel so many centuries ago:
Awake! Awake! Shake yourself from the dust! Rise up, o captive Jerusalem!
Father, let an alarm bell ring loudly in our hearts as You wake us from our slumber. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the Truth – that the time has come for those of us who confess Your Name to openly confront the evils of Privilege, both in society and in our own hearts. Let us be reconciled one to another in love, and care for each other – both within our church and throughout our communities. Amen.