Keep Awake - Thursday

read Isaiah 64:1-9
from the artist | Lauren Wright Pittman

Nothing feels more appropriate to me this year than lament. I began to study this text as I saw police and military presence forcibly end peaceful demonstrations in D.C. With tear gas and rubber bullets raining down, the crowd scattered to make way for a photo op co-opting the Word and house of God.4

“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down.”

Seeing this public display of power felt like I was drifting off into a nightmare. Instead of succumbing to numbness, abdicating responsibility, and pointing a finger at God, we must keep awake. Particularly, we white people have a tremendous amount of work to do. We could curl up in our cushioned privilege and ignore this national reckoning, or we could blaze a new way. We need to stop stammering in self-justification and defense. We need to stop performative acts of allyship and resist centering ourselves.

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities take us away.”

We hope that God will not remember our iniquity forever. We plead with God, and hope God’s anger may subside. God is raging against our systems alongside those prophetic protesters entreating us to "Step down off the scaffolding of whiteness and join the community of Creation."5

In this image, the tears of humanity rise to meet God, as God’s tears rain down. God weeps for Creation to be restored, for humanity to be the vessels we were designed to be—vessels of baptismal waters, of peace, of justice, of love. I pray that we allow God’s tears to soften and prepare us to be molded into God’s dream for Creation.

Breathe deeply as you gaze upon the image below. Imagine placing yourself in this scene. What do you see? How do you feel? Get quiet and still, offering a silent or spoken prayer to God.

4 The artist refers to an incident that occurred in June of 2020, when President Trump posed with a bible in front of St. John’s Church in D.C., using military force to clear protesters from the street.
5 Sharon Harper, Lisa. “White Women’s Toxic Tears with Lisa Sharon Harper.” For the Love podcast with Jen Hatmaker. Special Edition Series | Episode 05.”
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