A prayer of protest


October 25, 2012 by Ben Irwin

Below is a prayer from Walter Bruggemann’s book Prayers for a Privileged People

Since our mothers and fathers cried out,
since you heard their cries and noticed,
since we left the brick production in Egypt,
since you foiled the production schedules of Pharaoh,
we have known your name,
we have sensed your passion,
we have treasured your vision of justice.

And now we turn to you again,
whose precious name we know.
We turn to you because there are
still impossible production schedules,
still exploitative systems,
still cries of pain at injustice,
still cheap labor that yields misery.

We turn to you in impatience and exasperation,
wondering, “How long?” before you answer
our pleading question,
hear our petition,
since you are not a labor boss and do not set wages.

We bid you, stir up those who can change things;
do your stirring in the jaded halls of government;
do your stirring in the cynical offices of the corporations;
do your stirring amid the voting public too anxious to care;
do your stirring in the church that thinks too much about purity and not enough about wages.

Move, as you moved in ancient Egyptian days.
Move the waters and the flocks and the herds
toward new statutes and regulations;
new equity and good health care,
new dignity that cannot be given on the cheap.

We have known now long since,
that you reject cheap grace;
even as we now know that you reject cheap labor.

You, God of justice and dignity and equity,
keep the promises you bodied in Jesus,
that the poor may be first-class members of society,
that the needy may have good care and respect,
that the poor earth may rejoice in well-being,
that we may all come to Sabbath rest together,
the owner and the worker,
the leisure class and the labor class,
all at peace in dignity and justice,
not on the cheap, but good measure,
pressed down,
running over . . . forgiven.


One thought on “A prayer of protest

  1. Roger Dowdy says:

    THANK YOU for sharing this as a reminder in these anxious days, and all days, of who and whose we are…..and for reminding us of the power of Bruggemann’s ‘cutting-edge’ PRAYER.

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Ephesians 4:2-6

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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