Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Litany For Those Who Aren't Ready For Healing

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not rush to offer a band-aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother's child, this father's child...someone's beloved son.

Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life in community together.

Let us not offer clich├ęs to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.


Let us mourn black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.

Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who described him as a demon.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.

Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.

Let us be silent when we don't know what to say.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.

Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground.

Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard.

God, in your mercy…

Show me my own complicity in injustice.

Convict me for my indifference.

Forgive me when I have remained silent.

Equip me with a zeal for righteousness.

Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

© Yolanda Pierce


  1. This is amazing. Thank you for creating and posting this.

  2. Thank you. We need this.

  3. Amen, and again, amen.

    Lord, hear our prayer.

  4. thank you. I am sharing with my congregation.

  5. thank you. I am sharing with my congregation.

  6. This is so helpful, so real. Thank you. I'd like to share it with your permission.

  7. We so need this. It is a beautiful and meaningful prayer for our time, and all the past, and however much we need it in the future. Thank you. I'd like to share with your permission. Bless you!

  8. With your permission and with proper citation and acknowledgement, I am reading this post at a university teach-in today on Ferguson held at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, where Ferguson reminds everyone of the 92 riots involving Rodney King.

  9. Thank you. You made me weep yet again. I cannot fully understand, but I am trying. I mourn.

  10. I am a student at Duke Divinity School -- With permission and including your authorship in our worship guide, can we use this in a service next week? Many thanks for your words that invite us into powerful prayer and action.

  11. This became today's prayer for me. I will keep it to use again and again. So beautiful and refreshingly wide.

  12. Thank you. I will use this in our parish with our weekly commemoration of the lost lives.

  13. Thank you deeply, for taking the time and soul-strength to reach out so clearly to all of us who stand in need of these confessions and prayers. I will use this wonderful piece in my own prayer life, and I would like to use it with groups that I am part of if that is permissible. Do you have a particular structure for permissions / groups?

  14. Thank you so much for this and God bless you!

  15. Amen and Amen. Thank you for publishing this. I would like to share it with my congregation in worship (citing you and your website). Please let me know if you have guidelines around this (I see others have made similar requests).

    Blessings on your ministry in these days.

  16. Yes, you may use the litany for a worship service. Please just provide acknowledgement and a link back to my blog: yolandapierce.blogspot.com. Many blessings to you all.

    Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce
    Princeton Theological Seminary

  17. This is so Beautiful. Our Lay worship associates would like to include this in our Thanksgiving Service. Could we do so with your permission? Many thanks for letting your voice be heard. Andrea

  18. This is so beautiful! Our worship associates would like to include this in our Thanksgiving Service - could we do so with your permission and credit? Thanks you for sharing your voice.

  19. WOW! Amazing. Thank you so much for writing this. I hope you don't mind, I shared this. It brought tears to my eyes. (a fellow New Yorker).