Why must we drive people we consider “other,” that we consider “different,” to the margins of society?
Why must we force them to find places of sanctuary, places of safety, away from us who mock them, who torment them, who make them feel unwelcome?
Why do we not believe their stories of hurt, of sorrow, and of loneliness until it is too late?
Why do we permit system and structures that promote and allow violence against other humans, to the point of too many deaths, too many lives torn apart?
Why do we not mourn until the very places that they fled have been violated- targeted, simply because we didn’t like the existence of those unlike us?
Father, forgive me for each time I have not defended my friends and family when they are referred to as subhuman just for the crime of looking different.
Father, forgive me for the times that I have been complicit in the objectification of women, for the ways in which I continue to act in ways that silence their voices.
Father, forgive me for the ways that I have avoided and not acknowledged the identity of my LGBTQIA friends and family.
Father, forgive me for the ways that I have neglected to acknowledge the humanity and dignity of my friends who believe in a different God.
Lord, teach us to stand with those who weeping, without exploiting, explaining, or minimizing their pain.
Lord, teach us to respect the sanctuaries others have built as they seek community, as they seek family.
Lord, teach us to step aside and make space for those whose voices we intentionally and unwittingly silence, that their stories may be heard.
Lord, teach us to work towards a world where we dignify each person made in your image, where all feel safe, loved, and welcomed.
Spirit, comfort those who are hurting today. May they know that they are loved.
Spirit, be with those who are mourning their loved ones. May your presence be felt.
Spirit, be with those who have been hurt by violence. May they know your peace.
Spirit, watch over all who are lonely and aching. May they know your care.