taking the words of Jesus seriously

Glued to the screens on January 6, I watched the attack on the Capitol for hours. But the image that continues to haunt me is that of a couple dozen white men raising a giant wooden cross in front of the steps of the government building.

We cannot deny that Christianity was at the heart of this insurrection.

It might be easy to say, “Well, that’s not my Christianity.” Yet, for those of us who still identify as Christians—who feel the tradition run through our ancestry, who hear within it a call for justice—we cannot turn away.

Christianity has wrapped its tentacles around nationalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. We must name, expose, and engage these powers and principalities that live in our midst.

Coming away from those days, this is the prayer that started leaking out of my heart.

READ: ‘Not Real Christians’: Communal Confession for a Faith Divided

Oh God,
whose spirit rests in the
contours of Indigenous lands,
whose breath rises in the streets
chanting “Black Lives Matter,”
whose rage boils when the cross
is raised as weapon,
whose being is re-imagined by the honey bees,
the mycelium, and the snow covered cedars—

We stand at a time when
the powers of death are gasping for air.
We are witnessing the ways that
Christianity’s tentacles have bound themselves
to patriarchy, nationalism, and white supremacy.

For many of us rooted in this tradition,
this is a moment of reckoning with its violence.

We watch in terror, but not shock;
grief, but not despair;
trembling with the question:
What does it mean to be a Christian?

We ask you to hold us in this tension.
Help us ground in our bodies
and remember our histories and yearnings.

Send us Shiphrah and Puah
to summon our courage of disobedience
and resistance to empire’s demands.
Send us Miriam
to remind us to sing and dance and trust the waters
as the walls come crumbling down.
Send us Mary and Magdalene
to help us tend to bodies and the places of death
despite the risks and fears.

May the red, white, and blue behind our altars come down
and the blue eyed, blond hair Jesuses be removed.
May we find church, instead, in the small and prophetic,
entwined with justice, community, and liberation.
May guns be beaten into garden tools.
May history be studied and ancestors be summoned.
May we pray for the nonviolent collapse of the US empire.

And may the remnants of these prayers be on our hands
and woven into our lives in the days to come.



This prayer first appeared on GeezMagazine.org

About The Author


Lydia Wylie-Kellermann is a mother, editor, writer, and activist from Detroit, MI. She is the editor of Geez magazine- a quarterly, print, ad-free magazine at the intersection of art, activism, and faith. She is the editor of the forthcoming book “The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World” (Broadleaf, 2021).

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