posted on January 31, 2020
Earlier this week, Rev. Andy Oliver, interim president of MFSA's board of directors, gave the invocation to the Florida House of Representatives session. It was a reminder to us all that people who have been marginalized by unjust systems and laws were not born an “issue” or political or controversial. God created all in God's image and called us good. His prayer was an invitation to the legislators to stop politicizing marginalized peoples' very existence. It was also an invitation for both the oppressed and oppressor to experience liberation.
Here is the full text of his prayer:
God of the oppressed, we have lost our way...
Some, oh God, feel it is acceptable to ask for your presence here in this chamber, yet not okay to advocate for the folx whom our laws marginalize.
How is it, now too political, to advocate for the working class, and for those living in poverty, folks who increasingly can't afford Florida? Why is it too political to pray our teachers and state employees to be paid enough for food on their tables AND roofs over their heads?
O God, is it now too political to pray for your creation, calling for regulations to turn around climate change? Is clean water now too political?
And why is it O God, too political to demand the dismantling of white supremacy and racism from a state whose laws increasingly support voter suppression, target the disproportionate incarceration of black and brown people, and do harm to the undocumented?
When O God did it become too political for a woman to make her own medical decisions or for a child to want to attend school without guns?
How O God is it too political to pray for LGBTQ people who in the year 2020 simply desire protections for their housing and jobs? Is it too political to pray for the well being of transgender children who are at the greatest risk of suicide, whose colors I wear around my neck this day, who want to be called by their correct pronouns and be allowed medical treatment?
Remind us O God, that you did not create the marginalized and oppressed political, but all your children you created in your image—and you called them good. We lost our way when we chose to politicize their very existence.
If we're not affected by the minimum wage, or the threat of deportation — if we can afford health care, or if the color of our skin or the faith we practice or the person we love doesn't dictate how people treat you — then it's easy to politicize the lives of others.
Forgive us we pray. Embolden us to speak out for the vulnerable. Quiet us to listen to their voices. Convict us to put your people before party. And liberate both the oppressed and the oppressor in your longing for Beloved Community.