This morning, I was afforded the opportunity to provide a prayer for a gathering of faith leaders from Washington, D.C. We were all invited by current Mayor Bowser and former mayor Anthony Williams. We joined together in celebration of African American history and heritage as well as to reflect on the strides that this community has made against all odds. I offered this prayer to attendees:
Peerless God, who is in all and through all and yet, above us all, still You do not look down Your nose to judge whose better or worse. For better or for worse, You take us all. Because You created us wonderfully and fearfully, beautifully and equally, intentionally differently, each uniquely Your vision. You are the familiar in each of our faces. You created a family— not a bunch of races.
Forgive us for color- coding Your image, painting You into a corner, pushing You to choose sides. Because You are either with us or them. Omnipresent, we manage to put You in the middle.
Yes, God, “choose this day whom You will serve.”
Forgive us for appropriating Your power, masquerading in divinity;
The Word made beige, black, brown, red, yellow and white.
Forgive us for our hubris, for subjecting the Imago Dei to our ego, for making You a little lower than us.
Still, You love us all and You love us well, better than we love ourselves, our neighbor, the stranger and the immigrant. Clearly, You see and sup with those who sacrifice, who rub nickels together and start fires of entrepreneurship, which keeps the family going, keeps the community growing, and spins this cycle of reaping and sowing.
You are the strength of those who built up a land and pulled up a people with calloused hands, with lacerated backs carried cotton and babies, whose voice was not taken, still telling their story and singing our song with voices not shaken, “Swing low, sweet chariot,” who saw a vision through sunset eyes. Still, they rise again and again. Because joy comes in the morning.
So, we have gathered to applaud Your work—because You have been with us through it all. Valleys and mountains, from living water to colored fountains, we taste and still see that the Lord is good. Because a resurrected people cannot be kept down for long. Now, help us to live up to all that You see in us. No competition, one people, one vision.
In the name of the one who raised me up, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
 Psalm 34.8