Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.” 11 As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5.10-11)
We did these prayers stations the Sunday after Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March. The theme of these stations intersects the gospel story of Jesus calling the disciples and reflection on ways Jesus calls us to engage in the world.
Interactive Prayer Station #1: Follow without Fear
Materials: Paper, Markers, Glass Blocks
For reflection, the following words were shared:
Broaden my definition of racism
If I fail to acknowledge the day-in-day-out racism that people of color live and breathe, I invalidate the experience of people of color and miss opportunities to catch myself and others.
Acknowledge how racism has shaped me.
A critical step in becoming an ally is accepting that my thinking and actions – despite my best intentions – are often influenced by racism.
Acknowledge my white privilege.
Without acknowledging how privilege benefits me, I can’t truly begin to understand the experience of people of color. I’m unaware of my privilege because the system has encouraged me not to be.
Accept my limitations.
Part of privilege is being oblivious to racism, unaware of how it manifests, how it feels, who it hurts. I can learn to become less oblivious, but I will never have the lived experience of people of color.
Get comfortable with humility.
As I learn about racism and privilege, I realize how little I know, and how I’ve been wrong in the past. All that not-knowing allows me to learn, listen, and grow.
Being humble about how little I know is a way of giving up power. I give up power by ceding the floor to people of color, by taking ideas seriously, hiring and promoting people of color.
It’s not my fault that I may have some big holes in my knowledge. Now that I’m aware of them, it is my responsibility to begin filling them in, not the responsibility of anyone else to teach me.
Recognize that it’s not about me.
If I engage as an ally in conversations about race, I try not to take it personally; it’s not about me. It’s about the larger system of racism that a white person has just enacted in behavior and speech.
Listen to people of color and accept their truth.
If I want to learn about racism, I listen to experts: people of color. As I listen, really listen, focus on that person’s experience, not my own. Accept that what this person says is what is true for them.
Accept that effect counts more than intention.
Someday, I will say or do something racist, probably not meaning to. But what I must know is, it was racist, intended or not, and people of color have been hurt. So, if I misstep, I apologize.
Speak up and do my part.
Interactive Prayer Station #2: Fish
Materials: Safety Pins, Beads.
We also had the following sheets for people to reflect on:
Interactive Prayer Station #3: Forsake
Materials: Matches, Candles, Sand, Container
For reflection, the following words were provided as things to forsake:
“I can . . . ”
- if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
- be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant with me.
- go shopping alone most of the time, well assured that I’ll not be followed or harassed.
- turn on the TV or open a paper and see people of my race widely represented.
- when told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I’m shown that people of my color made it what it is.
- whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
- arrange to protect my kids most of the time from people who might not like them.
- swear, or dress in second-hand clothes, or not answer letters without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
- never be asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
- remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color, who constitute the world’s majority, without feeling in m culture any penalty for such oblivion.
- criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
- if a traffic cop pulls me over, or if the IRS audits my tax return, be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
- easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, and toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
- be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race won’t work against me.
- if my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
- choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color that more or less match my skin.