Over the weekend, I saw Woman in Gold. Throughout the film, even in the most subtle of moments, there is this question about how an individual or a nation participates in Nazism. Is it just something that happened? Are our ancestors to be blamed? Or did they actively take part? How do you atone for such things so many years later?
Walking out of the theater, my love and resident military historian quoted Martin Neimoller’s poem First They Came. I hadn’t realized that this poem was about Austria. It was about how the people didn’t really believe it would happen to them. And so, they didn’t speak out. They didn’t do anything.
The Narrative Lectionary on April 19, 2015 is Acts 10:1-17, 34-35. On that blanket before Peter, it’s all kinds of four-footed creatures, reptiles and birds. It’s not Communists and Socialists and Jews. At least, it’s not to our common reading. But, I’m intrigued by Eric Baretto’s certain claim: The vision was not about food or what one can or cannot eat. The vision is about people. He follows this claim by asking how many times we are quick to condemn the people around us. Perhaps we do so passively. We don’t speak. We don’t act. But, that’s not what God does. As Peter says himself, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
It is a confession that I offer today from my own heart.
Prayer of Confession
O God, if I am really honest with myself —
and more importantly, if I’m honest with you,
I really am a little bit racist.
I’m a little bit sexist.
And I’m a whole lot more homophobic
than I would like to admit.
I’ve convinced myself that it doesn’t matter
because you condemn who I condemn.
You love who I love.
But, God, I know it’s not true.
You love the woman that cried rape.
You love the black teenager in a hoodie.
You love the girl even more when she’s brave enough to call herself a lesbian.
Forgive me. Forgive me for being so quick to condemn and help me to do what is right and acceptable to you. Help me to love without any partiality. I pray in the name of the one who came to show us your love, Amen.
If you use the prayers I’ve written in your worship, and I hope you will, please do offer me credit with as follows:
The prayers in our worship this morning were written by/adapted from Liturgical Lights for Sunday April 19, 2015 by the Rev. Elsa Anders Peters. Elsa is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who blogs at revelsaanderspeters.com.