Yesterday, as well as being Valentine’s Day, was also Racial Justice Sunday, and as I read a prayer written by Anderson Jeremiah for that occasion, I thought how it reflects the change which has come into being since Racial Justice Sunday originated.

Love incarnate,
Fountain of Mercy and Justice,
in a world of inequity and pain
may our actions be our prayer.
We cry out for Shalom, fullness of life to all.
Let the Spirit of Truth guide us,
let the Spirit of Love free us.
Give us compassion, courage and resolve
to become the light we seek,
that many may see life
and their dignity restored.
Inspire us to embody a world
without injustice and prejudice.
Form us into channels
of your love and peace.
[Anderson Jeremiah]

What is clear from this prayer is that justice is sought for all who feel undervalued, unappreciated; all who experience hostility and prejudice for who they are, how or where they live, where they were born, their tradition, sexual inclination, religion – or lack of it. The outcry after the death of George Floyd brought up many other inequities which made us think again about our attitude, conscious and unconscious towards those we perceive as different from ourselves.

I like the line in the prayer which says:

May our actions be our prayer.

There are times when prayer, essential though it may be, is not enough; action is called for. Here in Olney we have many opportunities to support those who need our help, from ‘Olney is kind’ to ‘Advantage Africa’, the ‘Olney-Newton Link’ and the more recent ‘Covid 19 Support Group’; and, of course we have the initiatives within our own church family which aim to ensure that no one should feel marginalized, isolated or alone. Wherever there is ‘inequity and pain’ we are called as Christians to be Christ’s body here on earth, His hands and His feet, so that Racial Justice Sunday becomes a thing of the past, an anachronism in a world which is generous and caring, devoid of injustice and prejudice.

[Thelma Shacklady]