A Prayer of Thanksgiving for John Lewis’s Life and Legacy
JULY 20, 2020 | Prayer by Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, NCNW National Chaplain and President of Skinner Leadership Institute
God of our weary years. God of our silent tears. We humble our hearts before you in a spirit of gratitude for the amazing life and powerful legacy of Congressman John Lewis. Lord, we have no words to thank you for his nearly sixty years of anointed, and prophetic public witness for justice and righteousness, as he now, in the words of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings, ‘dances with the angels'.
We praise you, O Merciful God, for protecting John Lewis’s life 55 years ago, when at the age of 23, he led 600 peaceful marchers from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama protesting the denial to Black Americans of the sacred, citizenship right to vote. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for shielding him despite life-threatening blows to his head on that Bloody Sunday, so that he might model for decades the unconditional love of God shed abroad in his heart to drive out hate.
We praise you, dear God, for John Lewis’ “good trouble,” and “necessary trouble,” of laying down his life seeking to change a nation that values some lives more than other lives, in disobedience to your divine image in every person. Our national and world community are forever indebted to this a true servant leader for laying down his life to end America’s systemic racism and poverty against people of color and poor whites.
Help us now, O God, to do more than memorializing his well-lived life, or quoting his many inspiring messages. May we act with equal passion as our John Lewis acted in the face of structural inequities – “to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” In your mighty, matchless, and marvelous name, we pray, Lord God, AMEN.