Litany for Those Who Aren’t Ready for Healing

 By Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Director of the Center for Black Church Studies & Associate Professor of Religion & Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury & the depth of the wound. Together, we pray.

Let us not rush to offer a bandaid, when the gaping wound requires surgery & complete reconstruction. Together, we pray.

Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment. Together, we pray.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations & restoration, or how we can repair the breach & how we can restore the loss. Together, we pray.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child…someone’s beloved child. Together, we pray.

Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance. Together, we pray.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice. Together, we pray.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, & the pain that is life in community together. Together, we pray.

Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder. Together, we pray.

Instead…

Let us mourn black & brown men & women, those killed extra judicially every 28 hours. Together, we pray.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just. Together, we pray.

Let us call for the mourning men & the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege & ease, & sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin. Together, we pray.

Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say. Together, we pray.

Let us be humble & listen to the pain, rage, & grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors & friends. Together, we pray.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers & sisters who live on the underside of history may increase. Together, we pray.

Let us pray with our eyes open & our feet firmly planted on the ground. Together, we pray.

Let us listen to the shattering glass & let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard. Together, we pray.

God, in your mercy…⠀⠀

Show me my own complicity in injustice.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Convict me for my indifference.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Forgive me when I have remained silent.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Equip me with a zeal for righteousness.⠀⠀⠀⠀

Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

Amen.