A Prayer For Ferguson

God bless Michael Brown.
God bless his family.
God bless his friends and his loved ones.
God bless every person who knew him and loved him and grieves his death.

God bless Darren Wilson.
God bless this officer of the law who has dedicated his career to protecting his community.
God bless this man, whom I truly believe acted in the way that he thought was proper.

Please understand that I am not condoning his actions; I only mean to say that, while I cannot know his thoughts in that moment, let alone understand them, I think that he thought he was doing his duty.

God bless Dan Wilson’s family.
God bless Michael Brown’s family.
May neither live in fear of  harassment, retribution, or vigilantism.

God bless the protesters who are shouting for change.
God bless these women and men of all colors who are tired of injustice: who demand an end to the systems of oppression that tear us apart.
God bless these protesters who, in their righteous furor, have been known to disrupt traffic, damage property, and frighten small children.
Bless them in their righteousness, yet help them to keep peace in their hearts at all time.

God bless every officer who has acted in the moment, trusting his or her instinct to serve and protect.
God bless every person who has been wounded or killed because of officers trusting their instincts.

God bless our lawmakers who decide the policies that govern our communities.
God bless the officers, lawyers, judges, and juries who uphold our laws.
God bless every citizen who participates in America’s democratic process, be they a voter, a taxpayer, a protester, a lawmaker, a police officer, a social critic, or all of the above.

May we one day learn to write laws of compassion: laws that work to restore our communities, instead of laws that punish the guilty or presumed guilty.

God bless every mother who fears that her children will be sold drugs in school.
God bless every mother who fears that her child will be kidnapped, injured, or murdered by gangs.
God bless every mother who fears that her child will be arrested under false charges or slain by a person claiming self-defense.

God bless every mother who fears for her child.

God bless every person who feels anxious about crime.
God bless the homeowners who worry about property damage.
God bless the mortgage payers who worry about the cost of their home depreciating.
God bless the shop owners who worry about their stock being stolen, because that lost property will make it that much harder for them to stay in business.
God bless these men and women for their financial concerns, because I know that deep down, they are worried about losing what little they have.

God bless every person who believes that racism is over.
God bless every person who knows that it isn’t.

God bless every person of color who lives in fear of police brutality.
God bless every police officer who lives in fear of being killed in the line of duty.
God bless every person of every color who desires to live in peace.

Help us, O God, to heal.
Help us to learn how to talk about race.
Help us learn to recognize the deep wounds that racism has created in our communities.
Help us learn to recognize that these wounds have yet to heal.
Help us to learn how to have difficult conversations about acceptable levels of police force, about public safety, about how we can work together to make our homes safe for everyone.
Help us to understand each other’s feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, bitterness, sadness, and joy—yes, joy. Help us to celebrate our joys together, in those rare moments that we recognize them.

Help us to learn that no one’s feelings are invalid.
Help us to learn to acknowledge each other’s pain.
Help us learn to forgive.

Harper Lee once wrote, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” She is a very wise woman. Please help us learn how to follow this wisdom.

Help us to understand each other.

Help us to heal.

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Disclaimer: this post contains broad generalizations, unpopular opinions, and potentially incendiary language. The author apologizes for any factual errors or misrepresentations. He makes no apology for his plea that basic human decency be shown to all parties involved in this tragedy.

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