|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on April 21, 2021 at 4:30 PM|
Relief. Grief. Hope. Exhaustion. Yearning. Numbness.
Sometimes, every word feels inadequate. Our days lately are full of sometimes contradictory sentiments, and it can be hard to know how to begin to pray. When I struggle to formulate my own sentences or even fragments, I usually find myself thumbing through The Book of Common Prayer. More often than not, I land on something within those pages that gets to the heart of the matter. This week, I found what I was seeking on page 260.
Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
It’s the Collect for Social Justice and it dates back as far as the 1928 version of the prayer book. In just a few simple phrases, it reminds me that:
- We (all of us) are created in the image of God.
- We (all of us) need God’s grace to push through fear.
- We (all of us) are called to recognize and challenge evil.
- Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the absence of oppression and the presence of justice.
- Freedom is to be used with reverence.
- Justice cannot be assumed, it must be nurtured and supported (by all of us).
- Whenever justice prevails, God is glorified.
- The Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit) is the means by which we (all of us) have the power to be witnesses to and upholders of these truths.
It is uncanny that a prayer composed nearly a century ago can speak so presciently to the issues of our age. But that is the power of our Anglican and Episcopal tradition. May each of us take this prayer to heart.
Yours in Christ,