For the past few months we have entered into desperate prayer for our world in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have cried out to God for an end to this scourge, desperately asking God for healing, hope, and relief.  We have found God’s presence through the power of the Holy Spirit, giving us strength, endurance, courage and hope in the midst of our fear and anxiety.  In addition to our prayers, we have reflected upon our actions, asking ourselves, what can we do to help care for our world.  In response to that question, we have altered our way of living and worshiping, as we have all practiced social distancing, worn masks, and limited our gatherings in public spaces – including suspending our corporate worship services here at GPC.  We have done this because we believe it is the most loving, kind, and faithful thing that allows us to embody the ways of Jesus working for the good of our world.

Now, our nation faces yet another crisis.  We cannot call this crisis new because it has been with us since the founding of our nation.  Oppression, marginalization, and even brutality as a result of systemic social structures that have been shaped by centuries of racial bias and prejudice have been revealed, again, in the death of George Floyd.  Just as we have raised our voices to God for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the people of God, let us raise our voices again in protest and in prayer demanding equality and justice for all regardless of the color of one’s skin.

We are called by Jesus Christ to be, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. the Beloved Community that seeks to be salt and light in our world, seeking the shalom of our neighborhoods and cities.  We are called to be agents of God’s justice and equality for all.  For those of us with white skin who have benefited from the cultural and societal privilege our skin color has allowed, it is imperative we not remain silent, but educate ourselves and speak out against injustice and racial inequality, as we work for and participate in a society in which our multifaceted privilege has been dismantled.  As the the Church of Jesus Christ, through our prayers and through our actions let us commit ourselves to working for the Reign of God, and in the words of J. Herbert Nelson Stated Clerk of the PCUSA, the “Kindom of God”.  In the “Kindom of God” none can know justice and peace unless all know justice and peace.

In commitment to the justice and healing of the Reign of God that Jesus has come to establish, let us now grieve the death of George Floyd and countless others, and proclaim our commitment to a more just and equitable world, by observing nine minutes of silent meditation or prayer during our worship service this morning.  May these nine minutes of prayer be the catalyst for lives of action that demand God’s justice for African-Americans and other oppressed and persecuted people of color.  Following our nine minutes of silent meditation or prayer, I will lead us in our prayers of the people, and we will conclude our time of prayer by praying the Lord’s Prayer together.