Delivered April 1, 2021 | by Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, NCNW National Chaplain and President of Skinner Leadership Institute
O Lord our God of boundless grace and mercy---You so loved the world that you gave your one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Neither by words nor human reasoning may we ever fully grasp so deep a love that sent Jesus to die in our place to pay a price he did not owe because we owed a price we could not pay.
Tonight, O Lord, as we gather for the Virtual White House Prayer Celebration, we reflect on Holy Thursday---the betrayal of Jesus by a friend he lovingly forgave. Forgive us, O righteous God, for the countless times we betrayed you by failing to love unconditionally those who do not look, vote, or believe like us---all created in your divine image and dignity. Remind us this night; the only evidence that we love you is how we care for the “least of these” our brothers and sisters; and how we love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Sanctify our imagination, Almighty God, with the agony of the bloodstained cross bearing the only One who death could not stop, nor the grave hold, so that your children of every race and background might find peace with justice in our hurting world. Raise up leaders of all parties, right now, O God—leaders who refuse to tolerate rising hate against people of color, poverty in a nation of plenty, and destruction of the earth you lovingly created. Just as the darkness of Friday’s suffering gave way to the liberating work of Sunday’s resurrection, may the past year’s darkness of COVID death, suffering, and isolation give way to a Springtime of restoration and renewal. And--may the Holy Spirit of God infuse us with the same resurrection power that got Jesus up out of the grave to transform our world from darkness to light, despair to hope, and from inequality to equity. In your matchless name, we pray, Lord Jesus. AMEN!