Now a full year into the pandemic here in Lancaster, PA, while there is much to be thankful for, we also reflect on a year full of pain and grief, both in sickness and death from the coronavirus and in the pain and loss of senseless violence and racism. We mourn with those who mourn this year and enter into prayer for our communities.

A prayer of lament from the Lancaster Mennonite community (an excerpt from today’s high school chapel) :

We have much to be thankful for, much to grieve and much to commit:

We grieve the loss of life and health by the ongoing global health crisis of Covid-19. 

We grieve the violence currently in places like Atlanta and Boulder, the pain and suffering experienced at the border, ongoing racism experienced in our country, and in our communities, by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) and the Latino/a community, and the ongoing health issues in our community and world.

Today let us commit to stand with all victims of racism and against all forms of racism and discrimination. We recognize that we are a beautifully diverse school. Help us to continue to work to be a safe place where students know they are loved, cared for, and valued by God and others, where we would use our voice to welcome all and to confront hate.

Lord, give us strength to be instruments of your peace.

We commit to being peacemakers and working to solve conflicts peacefully. Most importantly, we commit ourselves to following you, to repenting of our selfish ways, and to treating others as you would. 

Amen. 

One opportunity coming up to take a stand against racism is to join us in Lancaster YWCA’s 2021 Virtual Race Against Racism held between April 14- May 22. You can choose your own route or choose to run/walk a designated route in Lancaster City with a YWCA Anti-Racism playlist of music and spoken word and eight landmarks honoring our Black and Brown communities. Please consider joining the “LMS Blazers” team for the YWCA’s Race Against Racism.