This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

A prayerful response to Ferguson

Asked why I raise my hands, I say a number of things:

“I lift them to praise God for redeeming me.” My hands are holy because his hands were pierced, and so, I raise my hands.

“I raise my hands to call God, Abba. Like a daughter who reaches up to her daddy because she knows she’s loved and wanted. When I’m reminded of the love of God, I raise my hands.

“I raise my hands when truth is spoken.” Yes. Yes. This. I say when truth lights up my soul and illuminates the lies I so easily believe, the lies that keep me from living whole, the lies that perpetuate brokenness. When truth burns it away, refining me to do Kingdom work, I raise my hands.

“I lift my hands in surrender.” When life’s too much and fear crouches before me claws at the ready to shred my confidence, I raise my hands to God.

Today, I raise my hands not to worship, but to pray for the community of Ferguson, Mo., and the families of Eric Gardner and John Crawford.

Today, I raise my hands. These holy hands made holy to do holy work in this sin-stained world. I raise my hands and ask God to redeem the violence, redeem the suffering, redeem the heartbreak in Ferguson. I raise my hands to thank him that he has overcome but to ask him to come, be present and bring peace. With my hands in the air I pray, “By your wounds we are healed, Lord. Usher in healing for Michael Brown’s family and the community of Ferguson.”

Today, I raise my hands, because perfect love casts out all fear and because Abba Father sees the suffering of his children. I raise my hands to bear witness to my brothers and sisters who were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets. I raise my hands because my love for them is restless. I can’t do anything tangible with these hands, but raise them high. Lord, we are restless for change and anxious for hope. We are witnesses of injustice. We are the women at the feet of the cross, empower us to stay through the torment so that we can be present to bind up wounds and then — see resurrection.

I raise my hands to God who out of his great love for his children heard their cries and carved a path towards justice when there seemed to be no way. Make a way in Ferguson, Lord. Make a way and drown the enemy of your peace in your waves of justice.

Today, I raise my hands because the truth is, Black Lives Matter and black kids don’t have to be college bound for their deaths to be tragic. I raise my hands for the truth that Jesus identified with the poor, broken, marginalized and ignored. I raise my hands because Jesus is our truth and he will make us free. I raise my hands for the truth that he will empower us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks — we need only identify ourselves as willing truth tellers. So I lift my hands to receive the necessary tools of this heavenly alchemy: a humble heart, listening ears, love-spun courage and most of all, open palms that refuse the cling to bitterness, hate or fear.

Today I raise my hands in surrender. I can’t do this work on my own. I can’t even pray for reconciliation on my own. I need to the Holy Spirit to come and take my jumbled, incoherent words and turn them into something powerful. Lord, place a terrible fear in the heart of the enemy, and advance your Kingdom of Peace where Violence has made it’s camp.

I am but one woman with a heart for the many sweltering in the racially charged climate of our country — nevertheless, I raise my hands.

I raise my hands in surrender.

I raise my hands in protest.

I raise my hands in holy anger.

I raise my hands in solidarity with the people of Ferguson.

Will you raise your hands too?

Osheta Moore lives in Boston with her husband and three kids. She considers herself an Assembly-of-God-Methodist-Southern-Baptist-a-terian turned Anabaptist. She and her husband are planting a church in Boston, New City. This is a post on her blog, Shalom in the City.

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