This morning I simply wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee and some light reading when I came across an article reporting that a white nationalist group marched with torches on the campus of the University of Virginia (read article here). As I read through the article, paragraph by paragraph my heart became more and more heavy. The words of the prophet Habakkuk rang in my ear:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

Lord, how long shall your people cry out for peace and see none? How long shall hatred consume us? How much longer do race wars have to exist? How much longer do we have to fight the evils of this world? How much longer until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at your heavenly banquet? How long, O God, until your glory shines bright enough to stamp out the wickedness in our world?

Lord, we petition you today with the words of Amos “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Bring your justice. Bring your righteousness. Show your mercy. Shower us with grace. Fill us with your life and love that we might take a risk to stand against injustice that harms any of your children. Come, Holy Spirit.

Fill us with your life and love that we might take a risk to stand against injustice that harms any of your children.

One of the demonstrators said “the fear we instill in them today only fuels our victory tomorrow.” That is not the way of your kingdom. You have told us over and over again to not fear. You came to us after the resurrection and told us do not fear, for you will be with us always to the end of the age. You came to establish a reign that does not rule by fear but through hope, joy, and love. And so, may hope, joy, and love vanquish all evil and wickedness in this world. May all hate melt before the radiance of your presence. Come, Holy Spirit.

We pray that you would pour out your Holy Spirit on all of us who gather on Sunday morning to worship to transform us to be the body of Christ redeemed by his blood. We pray that you would make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world. We pray you would make us instruments of peace, prophetic voices in a desert land, and help us to be your hands and feet. Come, Holy Spirit.

And help us have the faith and confidence shown in the 13th Psalm:

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Lord, save us.