Daily Devotion

Week of Prayer for Overcoming Racism and Xenophobia
March 19 – 25, 2023

Day Four

Disturb us, Lord,
when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord,
when with the abundance of things we possess
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
we have ceased to dream of eternity and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord,
to dare more boldly,
to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. Amen
(Attributed to Sir Francis Drake, 1577)

Scripture Readings: Colossians 3: 11-14 & Ephesians 2: 11-13

11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian,
Scythian, enslaved and free, but Christ is all and in all! 12Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and
beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with
one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has
forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds
everything together in perfect harmony.
11 So then, remember that at one time you gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those
who are called “the circumcision”—a circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of
Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

We live in a world where the colour of our skin and our gender continues to divide us in spite of our best efforts to overcome racism and promote unity. This division is seen in our communities, in our politics, and even in our churches. But what does the Bible have to say about racial justice and the
way we should respond to this division? In Galatians 3:26-29 Paul emphasizes the unity we find in Christ, regardless of any difference in race
or ethnicity. By recognizing this unity, we can begin to experience true racial justice: a world where all people can come together in harmony and respect to denounce the social evils which exist.
I was born and raised in Guyana, where the politics of race and class were quite glaring to begin with, the Presbyterian Church had come to an agreement of a split based on racial divide rooted in the dirty legacies of slavery. I wish things had been different, for a people who continue to suffer at elements of neo-colonialism and fascism. While governments and socio-political advocates continue to wage war, the church has mostly been silent.
Silence to injustice has permeated our churches, our communities and even nurtured systemic gender structures. Such cultural norms and policies still mostly keep women and children under the influence of passive social sin, particularly what in South Korea can be understood as the transmission of “yugyo” and “nunchi”; meaning the ritual honouring the heritage of a “Confucian Sense” of patriarchy in a highly competitive society. Therefore, females who are racially other are at a double risk, firstly, for their visible racial difference, as well as being ignored or sidelined because of
their gender. Sometimes, this translates to being ignored when complaints are filed about discrimination, or hearing concerns minimized as overreaction. Moreover, on occasion, the stares receive suggest that ‘outsiders’ are not welcomed. Christianity calls us to a higher standard, for even in a world filled with division, we have the opportunity to model what true unity looks like and take action to promote justice. K. C. Abrahams expressed this concept well in these words, “there is no hungry African, Indian or Chinese; there are
only hungry/ suffering people longing for emancipation and redemption.” By embracing this vision of true justice, we can create a world where everyone can live in peace and harmony. May we all be bold in our faith, understanding that we are all children of God, and be willing to work together to bring about the peace and unity that the world so desperately needs.

Prayers of Confession and Renewal
Inclusive and loving God, we confess that racism is sin and an obstacle to your mission to bring about the Beloved Community. Forgive us our divisiveness and help us to be agents of unity and reconciliation.
Just and reconciling God, we confess that in our current context, racism is systemic and manifests in both individual acts and structural injustices.
Forgive us our divisiveness and help us to be agents of unity and reconciliation. Eternal and faithful God, who mothers and fathers us, we confess that discrimination against women and the perpetuation of violence by diminishing their gifts and skills is not part of your desire for us as those made in your likeness. Forgive us our divisiveness and help us to be agents of unity and reconciliation. Healing and gracious God, we confess that reconciling relationships in a multi-ethnic society and working for justice and peace require an ongoing commitment of time and energy. Forgive us our divisiveness and help us to be agents of unity and reconciliation.

Lord’s Prayer (each in our own language)

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

We have seen and heard the struggle against racism in our world today;
We continue to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and strive for justice.
May we go into the world now inspired to be agents of change and hope against racism.

May the Triune God bless us all in our efforts. Amen.

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