Call to Confession
We have come to worship the Holy Spirit
who whirls around us as wind, as breath, as the air in our lungs,
But so many of our siblings find the breath of life
squeezed from their lungs;
and God’s good creation is suffocating.
Only in acknowledging our complicity
can we join in God’s restorative work.
So let us confess our failings,
first in silent reflection,
and then as one.
Prayer of Confession
We confess that we are bystanders and collaborators
in the stifling of God’s children.
Eric Garner, George Floyd,
and the uncounted souls of lynched Black folk
cry out to us even now,
“I can’t breathe!”
But we cannot bear to listen.
We would prefer to bury, not to say, their names.
Our siblings across the world
are desperate for vaccines, for resources
but in our dread of scarcity and the idolatry of nationalism, we hoard what we have.
We numb ourselves to stories of their need for oxygen, ventilators, the breath of life our greed denies them.
Others are being stifled by their own governments,
by settler colonialism, by xenophobic regimes:
From Colombia to Palestine,
Uighurs in China and Indigenous populations near and far;
But how can we pay attention to all this suffering?
We ourselves languish under compassion fatigue,
a sense of helplessness or disconnect.
Our planet chokes on the fossil fuels we rip from its depths
as we burn its lungs, the rainforests, to the ground.
To slow our consumption would mean drastic changes
in our everyday lives, fewer luxuries,
and an active struggle against
the main culprits of climate change —
a select number of corporations that seem invincible.
It is just too much.
O God, it is all too much, and we are too small.
We forget that we are one Body, your Body.
We forget that you call us not to complete these colossal tasks,
But to do our small part,
to strive even when all seems hopeless.
Assurance of Pardon
Look! God is doing a new thing!
In the hopeless void of suffering and sin, God’s Spirit comes:
She revives parched hearts and desiccated bones,
opens us to visions and dreams, to possibilities for improvement.
In the new life won for us by Jesus
and breathed into us by the Holy Spirit,
we are empowered to dream bigger,
to act more boldly,
to join together in God’s liberating movement
that loosens the ropes from wrists and throats.
I wrote this piece for Pentecost Sunday, but it would work well for any service emphasizing the work of the Spirit or the breath of God.