"A Sanctuary in the City… Living Faith"

God is Our Refuge and Strength

Last evening, a group from our congregation gathered on the steps in front of our sanctuary, quickly coordinated with other churches around Bronson Park. Amid anger and fear felt in so many ways, after vandalism and tear gas the night before, as a car and, later, homes would burn about fifteen blocks from our church, we lit one of our old Christ candles and kept vigil for love and justice and peace to settle in hearts and on streets of our city. We pray that the voice of protest will be heard and heeded against unjust killing of unarmed people. We face together insidious realities of race, bias and prejudice. We seek a way forward into beloved community of abundant life God desires for all people. We are a sanctuary in the city. We share life geographically centered downtown, radiating across miles, entwined with all neighborhoods including your home. We share life theologically centered in Sacred Grace and God’s call to serve until Holy Love and Peace we know in Jesus Christ fills every person and place. We shared, last evening, this scripture and prayer.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what wonders he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Creator God, you made all of humanity in your very image. Help us to see you when we look at each other. Help us to see each other as you see us: your beloved children, loved into being and sustained by your parental care. Keep watch over our hearts so that the evil of racism will find no home with us. Direct our spirits to work for justice and peace so that all barriers to your grace which oppress our brothers and sisters will be removed. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

(Adapted from a prayer by the Augustinian Secretariat for Justice and Peace – midwestaugustinians.org/)

Grace and Peace,