It is very early. I'm sipping my first cup of coffee as the pink light glows through my window. Today's going to be busy - lots to see and certainly lots to do. But even in this early hour, thoughts are bouncing around in my head.
I'm not foolish enough to think that there hasn't already been enough said - and said better than I could say it - on this topic. I mean, gosh, Joe Biden wrote a beautiful response that everybody should just re-post. The women of Girls made a powerful infomercial about it.
So in the stillness of this morning, what I've got are prayers.
For the people at the center of news stories - the villains, the antagonists. For those whose darkest parts have bubbled to the surface; whose names will forever bring to mind a tragic story. Receive our indignation, but make us humble. Help us to wholly and loudly condemn their actions; help us to keep our stones uncast in our pockets. Close our mouths when hateful words are leaping out; keep us mindful that beneath all our floorboards lives a part of ourselves we try to keep hidden, even from You. Narrow our focus on defending those in need; soften our hearts so that we remember that we are in need of so much. Keep angry name-calling out of our words; turn that holy fire into acts of love and prayer. Make the unrepentant penitent - especially when the "unrepentant" includes us. Turn our begrudging hearts to those we don't want to look at directly, who now face the wrath of an unforgiving world. We pray for redemption, for clean hearts, for the brokenness of a world in which acts of violence (and defending those acts of violence) are simply the horrible expressions of the most confused and angriest among us. Make us unrelenting defenders of justice. We pray to the Lord. Lord, in Your mercy -
For the victims - dragged into the spotlight with no choice in the matter. Our hearts ache. Make us not just spectators, detail-collectors, or gossips - make us people of action. Make us people who say, "I am listening. I am here." We hold these wonderful, blameless, brave, everyday people in mind - we honor their struggle and their tears; we celebrate their triumphs and their speaking out. We don't understand, but open our eyes and our ears to Your children. Help us to be wise enough to know this chapter has been written on the souls of these women, but that they are not this chapter alone. We ask that your presence be known among them, that in their waking and sleeplessness and crying and laughter alike, in their loneliness, whether they've told their stories or locked them away, that they are loved and cherished. We pray to the Lord. Lord, in Your mercy -
For the cyclists - and the cyclists in all of us. For the Samaritans who stopped and spoke out. These are the people You've called us to be- unafraid of getting entangled with an undesirable situation, and, instead, hurling ourselves toward the center of where it hurts. Forgive us for the many opportunities we've missed, and keep our eyes wide open to see them in the future. However tiny, however huge, we know that "love" is an action verb. Cover us anew with a higher regard for our fellow man than for ourselves. Amplify the voice within each of us that whispers, "How can you help?" Make our days testaments to the love we have shown, because walking alongside You means we stop at every chance we get. Strip us of our money, our clothes, our energy, burn our wicks down for our brothers and sisters. We pray to the Lord. Lord, in your Mercy -
For women - navigating a world that is unsafe. For women who clutch their keys while walking through a darkened parking lot, who carry a weapon on a walk around the neighborhood, who accidentally leave their pepper spray in the car and feel uneasy all night because of it. For women whose closest friends have become the source of their deepest wounds. For women who have been made to feel that their behavior or their attire was consent enough. For the complicated relationship women have with their bodies after someone has tried to lay claim on it. For the women whose stories go untold because of their color or sexual orientation, and the women whose stories aren't trusted because of their gender. We ask for light in the blackest corners of our world, so that no one has to suffer in anonymity. We pray to the Lord. Lord, in Your mercy -
For every person who has encountered this story - stumbling across it online or hearing about it on the news. Break our hearts in despair. Sit with us as we cry in confusion. And then, in our sadness, turn our faces toward our sons. In our grief, make us teachers. Give us strong words to use. Speak through our fumbling and discomfort. Use these moments of awkwardness around the dinner table as stakes in the garden; as a strong foundation around which the lives of our children can grow and thrive. Snap us to attention so that we sing the worth of every person at every opportunity. Make "humility" and "respect" and "consent" fall out of our mouths so often that we're met with rolling teenage eyes because they've heard us say it so many times before. Make us blessedly redundant. We pray to the Lord. Lord, in Your mercy -
Hear our prayer.