Opening Prayer | 2021 Collins Summit

Sean Langdon offered the following prayer to open the annual
2021 Collins Summit, sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon,
on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. This year’s Collins Summit focused on
“Christian Nationalism: Exploring the Dangerous Union of Church & State.”

Oh, Holy One, Sacred Guide, Loving Parent,

Whether it be physically present in this space or connected by your Holy Spirit through the power of modern technology, what a blessing it is to be in community tonight. To Learn. And to Grow together. But also, to continue the uncomfortable but necessary journey of deconstructing our fears and prejudices and the lies that our history has taught us and make way for truth to be born. Truth that comes from listening. Truth that comes from awareness. Truth that inspires an intention to seek forgiveness for the sins, not only of our own, but of those who have come before us.

God, we know that much harm has been done in your name. We know that your name has been used in ways that have brought fear, and pain, and distress, and God, yes, even death, to your children and this earth. We confess of the ways that we might have been players of this sin in the past and in the present, whether it be directly so or standing by and ignoring your nudge to stand up, speak, and do something about it. We know, O God, that this sin that I speak of is often perpetuated by religion and people who claim to follow you, but it is not of you. So as a people of faith may we not only confess of what has been and what is, may we commit to you and to our brothers and sisters and non-binary siblings in communities near and far at this time, and always, to do better. To be better. To build better. And again, to always listen better.

May we open ourselves now to letting your Holy Spirit not only flood the places that we gather from tonight but also the vessels of humanity that is each and every one of us. May we be open to the ways in which the spark of the Divine is igniting in us a new but continued sense of urgency to live out the holy text from the Prophet Isaiah that informed the mission of Jesus Christ found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4.

“For the The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And just as this text was Christ’s mission statement, may it be ours as well.

Oh God, there is much darkness in your land but there is also hope and light. May our eyes be open to the realities of the world around us but with a resolve to respond in ways that upholds the dignity of story and person and concern.

Oh, Holy One, I’m reminded of a beloved hymn that we now sing often in my faith community. May the text from that hymn be our plea and resolve at this time. 

Come and bring light to a people in darkness. Come, set us free from the chains we have made. We are your people, the flock that you tend. Lord, open our eyes once again.

To the ones brokenhearted, To the plight of the poor, To the innocent children: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love.

To the victims of violence, To the ones who seek justice, To those sitting in prison: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love. 

When a color divides us, When the darkness surrounds us, When we choose to look elsewhere: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love.

To those full of life’s sorrow, To the needs of the lowly, To the ones who seek peace: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love. 

To those suffering illness To those trapped by addiction, To those lost or forgotten: open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love.

Come and bring light to a people in darkness. Come, set us free from the chains we have made. We are your people, the flock that you tend. Lord, open our eyes once again.

May it be so. Amen.

To watch the 2021 Collins Summit, click here:

From Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon:

At the 2021 Collins Summit we explored the challenging topic of Christian Nationalism, the belief that the United States is defined by Christianity, and the government should work to keep it that way.  Our speakers Kristin Du Mez, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, and Kaitlin Curtice, author of Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God offer their unique perspectives on Christian Nationalism, helping us to understand it and imagine a better way forward.