R. Matthew Stevens shares this prayer of confession. It is a first contribution to A Child Laughs — Prayers of Justice and Hope forthcoming from Pilgrim Press and edited by Maria Mankin and Maren Tirabassi. For more information or to be a part of this collaborative writing project, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hate-filled Protestors — A Prayer of Confession
G’zhem-mnidoo; (Creator of all things)
It is hard to love the balaclava shrouded brother with a Kalashnikov in his hand.
I don’t know how to get close to the sister with a suicide vest under her burqa.
Yet I know that the profit motive of a weapons-maker on the other side of my town provided the bullets for that gun,
And that the calculated indifference of some local Internet service promptly circulated the plans for those explosives.
While my self-indulgence, safely ensconced within the bastion of our sham Christianity, reduced brothers and sisters to terrorists.
Gizhe-manidoowiwin: (Spirit of Divine Nature)
I know I abrogated compassion, and through fear empowered a militaristic response from our evolving quasi-police state.
I gave tacit approval to the security merchants to squander more wealth than would feed all the world’s hungry.
I’ve remained silent as some politician restricted yet another human right in the name anti-terrorism.
I convinced myself there’s nothing to do about my country putting boots-on-the-ground in a sister’s and brother’s homeland,
or to relieve the resulting devastation and social chaos when they brought our troops back as homeless and wounded veterans.
Manidoowag: (Spirit of connectedness)
It is you that speaks to us of our connectedness, and that nothing occurs in isolation.
It is clear that I need to relearn your wise teaching, and abandon the foolish notion of self-sufficiency.
I sincerely grieve for the harm my self-indulgence has unwittingly done to those I have never even met.
For those whom we’ve reduced to believing they’ve nothing left to lose, help me share with them a true measure of their value.
And may I be as determined a healer of terrorism as I have been as an instigator of terrorism in others.
Chii-Miigwech (profound thanks) Amen
translations are from the Anishinaabemowin.