• Bay Area Community Inspiration

    A Prayer for Occupy Oakland – Pastor Michael Smith

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    Creator and Sustainer God,
    We pause at this moment as your people stand in solidarity against greed and injustice in a world which often ignores the cries of the least, the last and the left out.  Lord we strike not only to make a statement, but moreover to take a stand.  
    While the eyes of the world are fixated on Oakland we remember those who stand in other regions of the Bay, throughout this the nation and the far corners of the globe. Less we forget the struggles of those who stand in places like Greece and Italy. We cry out to you for those who stand in Egypt, Syria and the United Kingdom.
    We also remember the cries of nations and people who have been ravaged by war, scarred by strife, victims of corporate greed, government corruption, social upheaval and political unrest. Indeed we pray for those who knock at the locked doors of peace and righteousness in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur and Sierra Leone.
    As the Occupy Movement grows we pray that your love and your truth with occupy our thoughts and actions that we might be changed for the better. Occupy Oakland, Yes Lord! Occupy Wall Street, Yes Lord! But most of all occupy our hearts and minds, we pray Lord.
    Today we remember all of those who crowd into Frank Ogawa Plaza on this day. Today we pray for ordinary people who often go unnoticed. Teachers and nurses. Sanitation workers and street sweepers who often cannot afford to live in the cities in which they serve faithfully every day.  For young adults swimming in debt with student loans and lack of employment opportunity. For those who were once incarcerated who find little hope for changing their lives. For families who have lost homes to foreclosure turning their piece of the American dream into a never-ending nightmare. We stand especially for children, the elderly and vulnerable whose voices are often silenced by the deafening cacophony of inequity.
    Hence forth Let Oakland stand as one whether we live at the top of the Hiller Highlands or at the depths of Lower bottoms, regardless of our ethnicity, skin color, neighborhoods or addresses let us stand together for righteousness, O God. Lord we especially pray for churches and faith leaders who turn away from the struggle and ignore the call to action.
    Fix our hearts Lord that we might not sit in alleys of convenience, but that we will stand in Avenues of Hope. Fix our spirits that we do not fall victim to the calm of complacency, but that we might rise up with the resounding voice of liberation. So Let us march on in Oakland. Let us move on toward hope.
    Let us fight on until Justice rolls down like a mighty stream. We pray this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
    — Reverend Michael A. Smith, Pastor, McGee Avenue Baptist Church (Berkeley, CA)

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