Pastors from a dozen Loudoun churches gathered in a field at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg on Saturday morning to pray for racial justice, equality and unity.
There were no chants or marches that have characterized many of the community rallies in the weeks since George Floyd was killed while in police custody. Instead, speakers took the microphone for two minutes each to offer a prayer, a short sermon or reflection. A frequent “amen” was the only word uttered by members of the crowd that watched, safely scattered in the field.
During the just over an hour-long program, speakers said churches must to do more to promote racial justice and build community unity.
Here’s a selection of their comments.
“We ask ‘what?,’ but God you’ve told us over and over again, so we ask ‘how?’ God, show us how, through the power of the Holy Spirit, what it looks like to not just talk about justice, but to do justice. God, let us, with the power of your Holy Spirit, not just talk about what it means to think about love, but to live loving lives toward those who look and act differently and those who look and act exactly like we do. God, get us off the social media. Get us off the keyboards and get us into peoples’ lives. … Help us to be people who do justice and love mercy and then God let us listen.”
“God, we’ve been too long the opposite of what you’ve called on us to do in the book of James. We’ve been quick to talk and slow to listen. Let us be quick to listen and slow to speak to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who have not had the experiences and the blessings in this country that many of us who carry the skin that’s called white have had. God, help us to be the people you’ve called us to be. Help us to walk humbly and in a way that does exactly what you called us to do.”
“We ask for forgiveness for our indifference, God, for holding on to excuses, God, for trying to hold on acting like we have a sense of righteousness. God, forgive us for that. Forgive us for trying to hold on to arguments, for trying to hold on to ideas instead of chasing after what you’re chasing after, God, and that’s people.”
“The world is watching. Our children are watching. I ask in Jesus’ name that you help us be an example of what it is that you fight for, God. Father, that our children would look toward us as a group of people who are chasing after your heart, chasing after your mind and chasing after what you care about, Lord. May the next generation succeed better because of the work we do now, God. Not for just a moment. Not for just a time, as season, Lord, but how we push our lives forward to bring unity in your church between Black, white and every race. … that they would be able to see your church united in a different way than we’ve had in our history, Lord. Instead, that they would see a church that is united, one flesh, one heart, one mind.”
“For more than 60 years, I have served your church. I’ve loved your church. I’ve given my life for your church. And I am so saddened by where your church is and our country is. We have failed. We’re in trouble and you have seen that. You allowed something thing that was truly unanticipated to stop us on our tracks. And then you allowed us to see something you will never forget. I truly believe that in my entire lifetime that we are at a new place.”
“We have failed. Because of our lack of seeing this unity that [Jesus’ death on the cross] was to change the world, we have failed. Instead of the angels being released to support your cause, instead of the demons being put to outer areas of the Earth, the revel in the disunity. Satan himself has put his knee on the neck of the church. So, Lord, we can’t breathe, we’re not breathing. And with a gasp of the breath we have left, we committee to becoming the church you have called on us to be. We commit to listening. We commit to learning. We commit to loving. We commit to action.”
“I believe that this is the beginning of a revival in this county. I believe the fire of God is going to descend on the churches of this county. .. When you walk into our churches, which is the most segregated place on Sunday morning, we want to see Black, white, Asian, Korean. You’re going to see all nationalities in heaven. Heaven won’t be a white heaven, we gonna be there. … We are one people. We’re called God’s people.”
The event was organized by Pastor Drew Clyde of Headway Church and Apostle Shawn Stephens of Ignite Church.
Participating churches included: City Hills, World of Life, Community Church, Ignite Church, Dulles Community Church, Reston Bible Church, Life Ticket Church, Destiny Church, Christ Community Church, Leesburg United Methodist Church, Christian Fellowship Church, Headway Church, and 3C Community Character Courage.