A Prayer for Walter Scott

Racism and the Church

A voice is heard in North Charleston,

lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children;

she refuses to be comforted for her children,

because they are no more.

Thus says the Lord:

Keep your voice from weeping,

and your eyes from tears;

for there is a reward for your work,

says the Lord:

they shall come back from the land of the enemy;

there is hope for your future,

says the Lord:

your children shall come back to their own country.

+ Jeremiah 31:15-17


God of peace and God of justice,

we have heard of what you did for our ancestors;

the deeds you performed in the days of old:

we were afflicted by the actions of our own hands,

but you came to deliver us and set us free.


The earth beneath our feet has been shaken,

and the very foundation threatens to crack.


Your children are being murdered in broad daylight,

while communities wail and mothers weep.


We struggle to set down our privilege, our racism, our complicity,

but their blood is on our hands.


We call out to you, O God,

because right now hoodies and skittles lead to death;

I can’t breathe is billed as a threat;

and "Hands up, don’t shoot!" has become our rallying cry.


His name was Walter Scott. 

He was struck five times -

three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks, and once in the ear –

with at least one bullet entering his heart. 

CPR was reported by not preformed. 

He had four children. 


God of peace and God of justice, this Sunday,

we will speak his name out loud in our prayers,

in our pulpits, in our congregations,

and in sighs too deep for words.


We will say all the names we know:  










We will say their names.

We will leave room for the names we do not know.

And, we will proclaim your good news:


They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,

and they shall never languish again.

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,

and the young men and the old shall be merry.

For God alone  will turn their mourning into joy.

God alone will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

+ Jeremiah 31: 12-14