Lent Daybook, 32: Do not harden your heart

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*


A new report called “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” documents 3,959 African Americans lynched between 1877 and 1950, over 700 more than previous tallies. The report makes for extremely difficult reading, particularly in light of the universal revulsion felt for the brutal beheadings and immolation committed by ISL/ISIS in Iraq and Syria....These acts of savagery pre-dated the internet, but photographs of smiling bystanders next to dangling corpses or those burnt at the stake were distributed broadly, especially in the form of postcards and joke headlines in the local and regional press. (source)


"The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) plans to build a national memorial to victims of lynching in Montgomery, Alabama, which is expected to open in 2018. This memorial project relating to America's history of racial terror and lynching will become the most ambitious in the nation on this topic." Read more about the project here.

music for today: "No More Auction Block For Me", Khari Wendell McClelland (lyrics)

"Khari collected and interpreted songs that likely accompanied his great-great-great grandmother Kizzy as she fled US slavery into Canada. He uses a range of styles like hip-hop, gospel, folk and soul to create a bridge from the past to the present. The resulting song-cycle, Freedom Singer, became a documentary theatre musical crafted with Project: Humanity’s Andrew Kushnir and CBC’s Jodie Martinson."

SpotifyYouTube | Bandcamp

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me.’ ... Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”


”Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.”


”Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”


”‘You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.’ And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. ...

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’
— Exodus 8:1, 19 * Psalm 133 * 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 * Mark 10:19-22,31

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays, I'll include the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).

prayer for today: A Litany for Racism in the United States by Fran Pratt

Oh God, visit us now in our mourning
Be near to us in our lament.
Blood has been shed, precious lives have been lost, evil has had its say.
Christ, have mercy.

We acknowledge the hold racism and prejudice have on our national psyche.
Set us free from this bondage.
We acknowledge that violence has been matched with violence, and many are in pain and distress.
Bring healing to us all.

We pray now for the Church in the United States, part of the body of Christ on earth, that it may be a voice of peace,
A light of love,
Working for reconciliation and unity,
Working for justice.

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters; all races, all skin colors, all ethnicities.
We stand against racism and injustice.
We stand for love.

For all the ways we are complicit in perpetuating racism
Forgive us, Oh God.
For all the ways we have hidden the light of Christ
Forgive us, Oh God.
For all the times we have kept silent
Forgive us, Oh God.
For all the times we have capitulated to fear of ridicule and retaliation
Forgive us, Oh God.
For all the ways we’ve given over to apathy
Forgive us, Oh God.
For all the ways our own prosperity has blinded us to the needs of others.
Forgive us, Oh God.

Protect the innocent Oh God!
Open the eyes of the blind!
Rout out the unjust!
Thwart the plans of the greedy and power-hungry!

May Christ, who re-imagined death, give us inspiration for how to move forward.
Love triumphs over hate.
May Christ, who said upon rising from the grave, “Peace be with you,” bring us into his kingdom.
Peace triumphs over violence.
May Christ, who did not retaliate but offered forgiveness, share with us his vision.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Lord, have mercy upon us. (Kyrie eleison)

— Fran Pratt

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Spiritual practice for today:

Each week during Lent, we will devote Thursdays to acts of repentance. It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance, and in His kindness and provision for reconciliation, He invites us to make confession and ask for forgiveness on behalf of not only ourselves but our forefathers and mothers. We carry a heavy load of guilt and grief in our nation as a result of centuries of grievous sin and unrelenting injustice against African Americans. 

I've added to my personal Lenten reading this year the brief daily posts called An American Lent, a collaboration between Coracle and The Repentance Project. I commend the readings to you, and if nothing else, consider reading and signing the call to action entitled Statement of Repentance

  • If you only have time to read one post, read Friday's post ("Legalized Lynching / The Death Penalty") by Bill Haley. Read the link to the Equal Justice Initiative's study, which found more than 4,000 “racial-terror” lynchings of African-Americans in the twelve states of the South between 1870 and 1950.

    • Listen to a 25-minute Q Talk "Restoring the Justice System" with Bryan Stevenson, public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. (Having just finished reading Mr. Stevenson's excellent book Just Mercy, I can't recommend this strongly enough.)

  • Take some time to read through a few of the following links from the rest of the week's excellent posts:

    • Corhaven Graveyard restoration - an historic burial ground for African-Americans who were enslaved on an antebellum plantation along Holman's Creek in Shenandoah County, Virginia (from the Keeping Education Out of Reach post)

    • Watch Georgetown University president John DeGoia’s 96-second video excerpt of a speech on the findings from a study he commissioned documenting, in part, that Georgetown University’s leaders sold 272 enslaved individuals to landowners in Louisiana in 1838 to pay off its debts. (from the Wealth from Slavery Establishes Early Colleges & Universities post). 

    • Referenced in the same post  watch the presidents of Harvard and Georgetown address this topic.

  • Pray through the words and consider signing the Statement of Repentance.

(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)