Racial Justice

The basis outline of these prayers were presented by Eff Poole at Tuesday Prayer meeting 9th June 2020

In the light of recent events, I would like to pause, reflect and pray for justice, particularly at this time for those who suffer because of the colour of their skin.

Rev Fred Kaan was minister at Pilgrim Church in Plymouth and wrote several hymns whilst there. His most popular was written to mark Human Rights Day 10th December  and has been sung on many occasions since then. It is in many hymnbooks including Singing the Faith (696).

For the healing of the nations,                                  

Lord we pray with one accord,                                  

for a just and equal sharing                           

of the things that earth affords.                    

To a life of love in action                                           

help us rise and pledge our word.

2.  Lead us forward into freedom,                             

from despair your world release                               

that, redeemed from war and hatred,                      

all may come and go in peace.                                 

Show us how through care and goodness                 

fear will die and hope increase.             


3.  All that kills abundant living

let it from the earth be banned,

pride of status, race or schooling,

dogmas that obscure your plan.

In our common quest for justice

may we hallow life’s brief span.

4. You, Creator-God have written

your great name on humankind,

for our growing in your likeness

bring the life of Christ to mind;

that by our response and service

earth its destiny may find.

Fred Kaan (1929-2009)

© Copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd, 23 Gruneisen Road, London N3 1DZ, www.stainer.co.uk. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

                                       Psalm 139

                                                       1 You have searched me, Lord,
                                         and you know me.
                                                       2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
                                         you perceive my thoughts from afar.
                                                        3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
                                         you are familiar with all my ways.
                                                         4 Before a word is on my tongue
                                         you, Lord, know it completely.

Eff’s personal thoughts to think about:-

The death of George Floyd.

Immigrant health workers who were having to pay for NHS treatment when they were working in the NHS during the Covid pandemic – fortunately this was reviewed and changed.

Higher death rate from Covid 19 for black and coloured people.  Why?

The drama “Sitting in Limbo”, based on a true story, shown on the BBC on Monday, 8th June 2020.

Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

The next two items *  From URC resources for Racial Justice Sunday 2020

BLACK – a poem *
If the night sky wasn’t inky Could the stars shine so bright? And if there wasn’t darkness, Tell me, how could light be light? No dark depths of earth – How would the flora grow? Black is essential, don’t you know. You tell me black is no good – The shade of evil, shade of sin; How do I then make senseOf the blackness of my skin? The skin I didn’t choose No more than you could choose your own; The skin that I was gifted – Only skin I’ve ever known. Black is what I am; it’s who I am; It is my pride. It’s the strength on which I stand – Where I refuse to be denied. Black speaks of where I’m going –How the world relates to me; Black speaks of where I’ve come from- Heritage and history. But it’s hard not to internalise The message all around – Before a word is spoken That in Black offence is found; Explicit or implied. Yet from your view you cannot see The shackles to be broken Until Black lives full and free. © Karen Campbell 2019

Two Prayers *

God-of-righteous-dreaming, give us an enlarged imagination to dream new possibilities, to imagine a world where transformation will happen, where creation is mended and restored, and where exiles and strangers can find a home and live in peace. Give us overflowing and extravagant hearts so that our whole lives may be full of and mirror your dream and promise of goodness and abundance.

God-who-walks-with-us, ahead, beside, behind, above, below and around us, you who journey with wandering and displaced people: clear our eyes to see you in the many displaced sisters and brothers at our borders, gates and doors; give us just minds and confident hearts to protest, challenge, and partner with others to turn hard, callous and inhumane policies into habits of generosity, compassion and welcome at our gates; and through your Spirit strengthen our resolve to work towards a new world where all can share in full and flourishing life.        Rev Michael Jagessar

From Eff

I want to pray that the struggle against racism may not be violent, but I’m struggling for words.  I was encouraged to hear this evening, Monday 8th June , Boris Johnson asking for a peaceful struggle against racism.

Final reflection

*WHEN THE POOR WIDOW SPEAKS – A de-colonial Reading                 ‘God is Alive!’

Life wasn’t all too good with the Roman oppression all around. Soldiers on their horses march every day on our streets to display their military power. Empire has taken over every institution in our country including our temple, for now our religious leaders speak the language of the temple and exploit the poor and vulnerable. My devout loving husband raised an alarm against the empire and exposed the exploitation in the temple, for which act he was falsely framed with charges of treason, incarcerated for years and eventually killed by the military powers of the empire. I have now become a young widow, left alone to take care of my children with the meagre means of living. As a single woman I go from pillar to post in meeting the ends of our lives. With the growing injustice in the temple I have stopped going to the temple now, with hope in God just dwindling about. My name is forgotten, my voice is unheard and am pushed into ‘unspeakability’ by the society around.
Over the past few days I have heard of the Jesus’ movement going on, for I heard of a man called Jesus who was speaking like my husband in all courage and boldness against the exploitation done by the religious leaders and the empire. I knew that this man called Jesus will not live long, for he will face the fate of death unjustly like my husband. I rejoiced for the fact the he exposed the evils of those in the powers, which gave me a hope that God is not dead… …God is alive! In that sense of hope, I thought let me go to the temple to offer and pray for justice and peace in our land. As I went near the temple, I saw a great crowd moving in and out busy with buying and selling of goods. How sad the temple once built for worship has now become a place of unjust commercial activities. As was the tradition, women are not allowed any further into the temple except into the outer court. Then I saw those men, the religious leaders with long robes in the temple who mocked at me, calling me names and laughed over the death of my husband. Reminding that anyone speaking against empire will have to die. In all that buzz of business going around, I went into a corner to find some peace and pray to God for peace and justice. I wept and prayed to God for liberation of our land from oppression of the empire. I wept and prayed for my kids and for the difficulties we have been facing. In that time of prayer, God listened to my prayer and gave me a spirit of peace, which the world did not give. God strengthened me by calling me to make myself present at the temple to keep reminding the religious leaders of their exploitation. Yes, I thought I should visit temple everyday to keep reminding these men on long robes of their fake spirituality for they do things in the temple only for the ‘sake of appearance’ without any fear in God or the Scripture.                                                                                                                                        Then towards the end went to the treasury box to make an offering to God and dropped the remaining two coins that I have all, saying a prayer ‘God bring us peace and justice.’ Just before me, I saw this man on long robe offering a huge sum of amount in the offertory box, again showing off his pride exposing his false spirituality. I went in all sincerity and faithfulness and not only dropped the two coins but also offered myself in the presence of God to fight injustice by my presence in the temple. After all our Scripture says to care for the widows and orphans, and here are men in their long robes exploiting us. I made my offering and was on my way home. Suddenly I saw this man from that just movement, Jesus standing at the offering box and saying to his disciples that I have put in more than those who are contributing for the treasury. I smiled at his observation, thinking I don’t care what I have given, for I have given my offering heartfully to God and not for the sake of the people. For Jesus recognised that I have given it in my poverty, because I came into the temple to offer myself for peace and justice in the land. Then those dozen men with this man Jesus were surprised with their mouths wide open, not understanding all Jesus said. However, I went home that day with a sense of hope, with a sense of commitment to make my presence in the temple a symbol of resilience and to contest injustice in all forms. Later as I thought this man Jesus was killed and was crucified, buried and then in a miraculous way God on the third day rose him, and from then on, I began to follow Jesus, and hosted a church at our house. God was faithful to me, I brought up my children and they journeyed far and wide to share the testimony of Jesus in all the Asia minor. God of grace did not leave me nor forsake me.
Jesus Remembered me in the temple,
Jesus Recognised my offering,
Jesus Revealed the hypocrisy of the men on long robes.
Rajbharat Patta    

Psalm 139 23 Search me, God, and know my heart;   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
       24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Christian Love – a hymn                

Christian love is not romantic,
not soft-focussed, twee or sweet,
Christian love’s not ‘likes’, nor dating,
far more real than text or tweet.
Christian love means life-long struggle;
lived-out kindness ev’rywhere.
Christian love must echo Jesus:
selfless, soulful, steeped in prayer.

Christian love respects the other,
seeks to understand, not judge;
takes delight in mutual learning
doesn’t force and doesn’t fudge.
Christian love’s an arduous journey,
finding self by giving all;
serving, sharing, helping, caring;
full response to Jesus’ call.

Christian love cries out for justice
wheresoever it’s denied;
joins the struggle, makes the protest,
stays the course, eyes open wide.
Christian love rejects what’s racist,
sexist, ageist, prejudiced,
turns against each nurtured bias,
learning daily to resist.

Christian love is learned from Jesus,
walks his way and bears his cross;
self-surrenders, like our Saviour;
gains much more than what is lost.
Christian love is so persistent,
it outlasts all other things;
by its hope, its faith, its struggle,
it’s the song all heaven sings!

John Campbell ©2020 Kevin Mayhew Ltd
Produced in material for Racial Justice Sunday.

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