A Prayer for a Torn Nation | Sojourners

A Prayer for a Torn Nation

Image via REUTERS/Justin Ide.


Somewhere between the “us” and “them”

you’re holding together the least of these.

Somewhere completely outside of all of this,

you are ushering in a kingdom not of this world,

one that rights all wrongs and rules in love.


But for now, here we are.

Here there are so many bodies—

black and Native bodies,

brown and white bodies—

lifeless bodies,

bodies with torches,

bodies kneeling in prayer.


And you, with your resurrected body,

stand over us,

clasping shalom in your hands,

weeping once again for Eden.

Because you’ve seen the

path charted by brokenness.

It led you to the cross,

and in your mighty grace,

it led you back out of the cave you

were buried in.

It led us through greed,


and colonialism,

through slavery,

through war

after war

after war

until today,

when we realize

that we are still buried

in tombs of hate.

O God,

we are buried now.

Our tombs mark

what side we are on,

who we are for and against,

and our bodies

are longing to come alive



You’ve watched our story

unfold from the beginning:

our hate staining our hearts,

our moments of selfless love

paving the way for justice.

You’ve shown us that

an upside-down kingdom

has no place

in an upright world

based on

privilege, prejudice

and supremacy.


You, Jesus, the table-turner,

you were not afraid

to shout shalom

from the streets

or find God

in the quiet of an afternoon.


You know that to gear up for the

hard work meant listening

intently to the voice of God.

You knew that the hard work

would lead to unbearable


that people would

divide themselves

over you,

that war would come.


Today, Jesus,

we are divided.

We are torn.

Today we are

writhing in our bodies—

our black, Native,

brown, white bodies,

and we cannot hold in

the kingdom

when it’s asking to be made known

in the lives of people

the world deems worthless.


So root out those

Original Sins.


Root out injustice—

the kind that beckoned you to come

from other places

to our world

in the womb of young Mary.


Root out supremacy —

the kind that

puts one brother beneath another brother,

or one sister beneath the weight of patriarchy.


Root out hatred —

the hatred that devours

the head and the heart

and clouds our understanding.


O Jesus,

we are so clouded.


be the Jesus we read about and

be the Jesus we’ve never known

stories of, the Jesus of

deep time,

deep love,

deep shalom.

O Jesus, we need you.


Unite in full grace all that is divided.

Mend in full love all that is torn.

Resurrect us, we pray.



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