Time for Litany of Repentance

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Last week I shared with you the Great Litany which grounds our journey of Lent and deepens our relationship with God and with one another as we ponder what we have done and left undone. This week I offer you a Litany of Repentance. As we continue to watch the trial of Derek Chauvin unfold and learn more and more of the stories of oppression in our country, hearing the perspectives of indigenous people, of enslaved people and their ancestors today, of immigrant groups current and former who suffered from discrimination, especially Asian and Latinx people, but also the Irish, Swedes, Italians and Eastern Europeans who arrived escaping poverty and oppression only to find bias in the midst of new freedom. Please pray this with me this week and beyond.

Litany of Repentance 

Dear people of God, our history is marred by oppression, by the enslavement of those who differ from us, and by the forces of racism that attack human dignity. The sin of racism is woven into our lives and our cultures, in small and great ways, in things done and things left undone. As followers of Christ, we reject racism and the oppression of other human beings. In building Christ’s beloved community, we must strive to love all people, respect all people, and work for the good of all people. We must stand alongside God’s children of every race, language, and culture, and work together as agents of justice, peace, and reconciliation. In the assurance of our forgiveness, let us be present before God and humbly confess our sins: our participation in racism, our privilege based on racism, and our perpetuation of racism. 

Silence is then kept for a time.

God the Father, you freed your people from slavery in Egypt, yet the legacy of slavery deforms our lives today. 

Have mercy on us.

 God the Son, you prayed that all would be united in your love and service, yet the divisions among us rend your body. 

Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, you inspire us to live peaceably with all, yet the stain of genocide and internment mars our striving for justice. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have harmed one another and the earth through negligence, greed, and self-interest. 

Have mercy on us

We have failed to condemn discrimination that leads to unrest. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have decried violence, while overlooking inequity and frustration from which it rises. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have practiced injustice for economic gain and have oppressed others to make a false peace. 

Have mercy on us

We have sought comfort in advantage for ourselves at the cost of injustice for others. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have welcomed solace over conflict and ignored the cries of those harmed by our comfort.

Have mercy on us. 

We have grasped for this world’s goods, and been arrogant toward those who have little. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have not shared the good things we have been given, and blamed the poor for their poverty. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have been fearful and distrustful of those who are different from us. 

Have mercy on us

We have divided ourselves from others, and refused to listen to or believe their experiences. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have been indifferent to the pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers. 

Have mercy on us

We have held in contempt those who need our help, and not loved them with our whole hearts.

Have mercy on us. 

We have been self-satisfied in our privilege, and denied our oppression of others. 

Have mercy on us. 

We have preferred order over justice, and isolation over the struggle for peace. 

Have mercy on us,

We have quietly held good intentions, and kept silent the message of reconciliation.

Have mercy on us. 

We have failed to act with courage for the sake of love.

Have mercy on us. 

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy. 

Lord have mercy. 

May Almighty God have mercy on us, grant us courage and conviction, and strengthen us to love others who are unlike us. May God, the Holy and Undivided Trinity, make us compassionate in our actions and courageous in our works, that we may see Christ’s Beloved Community in our own day.

 Amen.