Fr. Eric’s Pastoral Letter: Opening Our Hearts to Prayer

Fr. Eric’s Pastoral Letter: Opening Our Hearts to Prayer

For Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

BCP p.823

Our parish has been saying Morning Prayer together in a virtual format for about a month now.  One of the important aspects of even a small portion of our community gathering daily is that it is a reminder that it is the vocation of the Church to be constant in its prayer.  As one gains familiarity with our Book of Common Prayer it becomes evident that prayer is not merely something said solely for individual benefit, rather, prayers are offered for a larger purpose, ultimately for the benefit of the whole world. We pray for healing, peace, reconciliation, justice, strength and fortitude. We pray for the future of our city, state, nation, and the world.  We pray for our friends and our loved ones as well as for our enemies and those in prison.  

For over a week now the deep wounds of racial injustice have resurfaced within our nation.  The cost to our country of bias and the unequal administration of justice is enormous.  It is the source of considerable anger, frustration, rage and despair.  In order to move forward, it will take every part of our society working together to achieve a nation of racial equality and harmony.  It will not be enough for any of us to sit back and say that this is the work of some other group.  Our prayers deeply connect to our civic responsibility to strive for social justice for everyone.

As I write, many businesses in downtown San Mateo are boarding up their windows as a hedge against violence, destruction, and looting.  Our Church has a long history of supporting peaceful protest.  We know that dedicated leadership—leadership that actively seeks social change for the better—has a profound impact upon the tone and tenor of protest. Beginning with prayer, I invite our parish to begin to think about how we might be leaders for positive change for social justice and change in our community and in the world.

I close by asking for your ongoing prayers for all the leaders of our country, for the safety of protesters and police, and for discourse that leads to positive change.  From our Prayer Book I also commend to your attention ancient words that today are profoundly relevant.

A Prayer attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.  

BCP p. 833

Fr. Eric+