God, Come Down
Beloved in Christ,
Yesterday morning I wept as I gathered with Healing Our City’s virtual prayer tent and listened to Imam Rami Nashahibi reflect on the tender, motherly, inexhaustible compassion of God. My heart, like all of yours, is so heavy, as a city that is already carrying so much is handed one more dose of sorrow and anger. As most of you know, on Sunday night Brooklyn Center police killed Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop. Daunte’s killing resulted in a night of tense but largely peaceful protests, met with tear gas and less-lethal ammunition fired at protestors, and looting of Brooklyn Center shops. While we don’t know much about the circumstances of Daunte’s death, we do know that he was 20 years old and a beloved child of God.
There is a sickness in our society, a sickness that shows up over and over as deadly violence against Black and brown bodies by the very institutions and agencies that form the frame and foundation of our common life. This sickness, which infects every single one of us, cannot be rooted out by our good intentions, or more knowledge, or our own efforts. This sickness is a sin that possesses us and can only be healed by the divine mercy, our mother, the God of all compassion and peace. Our first call today is to join our sorrow, our tears, our anger, our longing for a better way to the voice of Isaiah who, when facing the systemic injustice in his own society, cried out to God: “Oh that you would tear open the heavens and come down. . .” (64:1) The transformation and healing we so desperately need asks for our whole lives, and our whole life together, and it must be grounded in daily lament, crying out for God to tear open the heavens and come down, and daily repentance, a commitment to letting the divine mercy break us open and thoroughly possess our sin-sick souls, so that each breath we are given might be an offering of God’s perfect love working through us.
As we continue to hold the trauma of these times, I commend to you again the incredible interfaith work being done by Healing Our City. Their morning prayer vigil, held every day at 8am, is a truly healing and restorative space. You can always find a recording of the vigil after the fact on their Facebook page if you cannot attend in real time.
Oh God, tear open the heavens and come down to the family of Daunte Wright today, to the city of Brooklyn Center today, to the Twin Cities today, to the state of Minnesota today, to all who have ever feared or been hurt by police or the prison system, to all Black and Indigenous and Latine people who are disproportionately targeted by the police. Oh God, tear open the heavens and come down to us today.
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
X Bishop, Episcopal Church in MN