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Sorrow awaits us: a lament over injustice from the church

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I was reading in Luke 11 this morning. I was struck by the profound similarities between the Pharisees of Jesus' day and the evangelical church of today. More startling is Jesus' response toward them. You might know that the Pharisees were the "bad guys" of Jesus' time--at least that's how Bible-readers like to view them, as if we are dissimilar to them in every way. And yet, they were well-respected and revered, even feared. They were obeyed. They were the experts about what God expected from his people. In modern day vernacular, they were the pastors, the conservative right, the non-profit leaders, the worship leaders, the televangelists, the Christian authors. They were the spiritual voice for their culture. And Jesus censured their religious rules, pointing out instead their lack of compassion and justice. Read Luke 11:37-53 to get the full effect of Jesus' words (they're harsh!). Here is a prayer of lament crafted from Jesus' rebuk

A confession of injustice

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Dear Lord God, You forgive us when we confess our sins, and you give grace when we confess the sins of our ancestors-- of our family and our city and our country. So I confess the great wickedness of our nation at oppressing the poor, marginalizing women, minorities, the elderly, and the ill, enslaving the African-Americans, red-lining poor communities, indenturing and imprisoning the uneducated and underprivileged. I confess our systemic white privilege, even as I want to believe I am not a benefactor of it. I confess our sins of racism and segregation, even as I say that I have not overtly participated in any of it. It is our heritage, and we are wrong to minimize its legacy. I confess the church's sins of politicizing moral issues, of drawing party lines through issues of compassion, grace, and mercy-- of using topics of mass incarceration, death penalty, immigration, life, and welfare to divide party lines and provide ease and security for the privileged