As I gave upon my nation; as I look upon this home that I love, I can only find the words of the Psalmist. I can only croak out a haughty question: “How long O’Lord; How long can you stand by and watch? How long can you tolerate our presence? How long can you allow us to curse and shame the poor? How long can you watch as gunman after gunman turns our schools in firing ranges? How long can you stand to see us use each other for financial gain: not the kind that will enable us to eat; but the kind that allows us to eat steak while our neighbors are left with scraps. How long can we spit upon entire groups of people; not because the content of their character has been found wanting; but because the color of their skin and their country of origin is different from our own? How long can we start wars; simply because we can and curse good young men with early deaths, all because someone has something we want or said something that annoyed us? How long can we be allowed to kill the very young and the very old because they inconvenience our attempts to live lifes of pleasure? When O’God will you judge us? When will your longstanding kindness and forgiveness boil over into righteous furor?”
No sooner have these words left my lips that a new thought crosses my mind. Has it already begun? Should our first clue at your displeasure come as planes began crashing into our buildings and schoolchildren became mass murderers? When our leaders developed new games of political brinkmanship daring each other to burn down our country; should we have inclined our eyes in surrender? Instead of reacting in anger and hostility to all those like these persecutors; should we have torn our clothes, covered our faces with ash, placed sackclothes upon our shoulders, and cried out in humility and shame?
Ours is a land of great riches and blessings; but underneath the whitewash have we become a grotesquerie? If so we have only one hope, the words of the prophet saying “if my people, called by my name will humble themselves and pray; then they will hear from heaven and I will heal their land.” Lord you promised your servant Moses that if only a handful of people would cry out to you; you will save Sodom. Lord you revealed yourself to be forgiving in your treatment of Ninevah, the city that turned from their errors in repentance. So today I come before you humbly and ask that you reconsider your people. That you forgive us for enslaving people because of the color or their skin. That you forgive us for seeking profit above all else. That you forgive us for scoffing at the idea of allowing others to earn a living wage; just so that our hamburgers might cost a dollar less. That you forgive us for locking entire generations of men in prisons with no hope for redemption. That you forgive for dropping bombs indiscriminately hoping to maybe kill our enemies. That you forgive us for treating our spouses like chattel: as possessions to bolster our standing and good name. That you forgive us for corrupting our children with sweets, and goods, and creating in them a sense of entitlement that knows no bounds.
Lord God allow us to turn off our TVs, to pause our I-things, to disconnect our internets, to stop with the striving and the posturing; to stop shouting over you, your prophets, and each other. Allow us to see You again. Allow us to hear you again. Allow us to be your prople again.