Every Wednesday morning, we gather at Good Shepherd for Holy Eucharist and healing prayer, including prayers for the healing of the world and of our own souls. A few of us come early to sit in silence for 20 minutes, and I open that silence with a short prayer. This morning I’ll be reading the collect from last Sunday, a prayer that stays with us through the week as part of the Daily Office:
“Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
In that spirit, I want to call out two points from yesterday’s long letter from Bishop Daniel G.T. Gutierrez, because “doing those things that are right” doesn’t always come naturally or easily. Sometimes it takes some hard work on our part to know the right, and grace to do it. Bishop Gutierrez suggests:
“That we would acknowledge the internal work each of us needs to do. We should prayerfully and courageously look deep within our own hearts to identify our own prejudice. And once we identify such sin, we should seek forgiveness and confess it either corporately in worship or privately with a confessor. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can be a powerful tool in building a culture of belonging.”
“That we would openly and honestly engage the issues of class and race that divide our society. Let us read and discuss books such as “White Like Me” by Tim Wise, “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-nehishi Coates and “Stand Your Ground.” by Kelly Brown Douglas or “The Cross the Lynching Tree” by James Cone. In the same spirit and with resources like these, encourage your youth leaders to hold open and honest conversations with your young people.”
For myself, I’ve looked into my own heart, and I know I have work to do. I’ve read Between the World and Me, and plan now to start on some of the others.