On Saturday, December 13th at 1pm, I helped organize an event called the Prayer for Justice Rally. Circle of Hope was a big part of the crowd. We must care about justice. My friends Gene and Fatimah from LookUpRadio.com spearheaded the effort to get a diverse group of Christians together to pray about what is becoming known as the #blacklivesmatter movement. I was excited to be part of such a great idea. Let’s get Christians who are black and Christians who are white and Christians who are brown, and Asian and as many other Christians as possible together to pray for the state we find ourselves in: the abjection of no indictment for police who killed black men and boys; the brokenness of a world so entrenched in sin we regularly call evil good and vice versa; the corporate oppression of racism and the systemic ways it damages all of our hearts and destroys lives, especially black lives. We had to cry out with Isaiah for the freedom of the oppressed. We followed Isaiah 58-6-8:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
We wanted to declare our hope in God’s promise and unhinge the heavy gates that separate us from one another. We wanted to be together in solidarity–demonstrating our hope to the world. We wanted to express our pain and ask God to heal us. The injustices are painful to any lover of justice. They are painful to God.
We gathered at the Municipal Services Building’s courtyard. We used an over-sized fallen domino as our stage. Our own Ra Mendoza (also repping Mission Year) Pastor Cean James of Grace Christian Fellowship, rallied us to our common cause. Joezier (truPoet) Antoine stirred us up in expressing his indignation. I led the group in small group and corporate prayer. We joined together saying “We raise our hands.” Marquita Danzy got us singing “Our God” and she didn’t need a mic! Finally Ra sent us on our way to carry the fire to all our corners of the city.
The only down side of the event was the turn out. It was a blustery cold day and I understand there were some things stacked against us, including the fact that Gene told me about this idea only a week before, but I was hoping for 200 and there were 40. I’m not sure how I expected 400 to show up, but I learned a lesson in organizing- you better know who is coming. I wasn’t, however, surprised that a third of the crowd was from Circle of Hope. We are a faithful people. We’re dreaming about doing big things like this next year and I’m eager to see what our collective “show up” capacity is. If we can be the biggest group when I barely put the word out among us, how big will our presence be when we all put our back into it! Let’s do it!
Circle of Hope, I can count on you. Thanks.