June 17, 2020
As part of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution designating June 17 as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.The Witness of the Emanuel
Nine: A Litany of Remembrance for Their Vocations
The “Emanuel Nine,” of blessed and eternal memory, were nine gifted, loving, and faithful people who spent their lives striving for excellence, connection, and the presence of God, and spent their last moments in study of the word. They leave a legacy of grace, resistance, family, and faith.
Gracious God, in remembering their lives and witness, we are called to a wider understanding of the Spirit’s work in the world.
They were preachers: Open us to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.
They were students: Kindle in us a desire to learn and grow in your ways.
They were teachers: Instill in us a passion to share the wisdom of Christ.
They were coaches: Accompany us as we strive to run the race set before us.
They were mentors: Inspire us through the wise counsel offered by others.
They were leaders: Embolden us to seek out the best in others.
They were musicians: Attune us to the sounds of your creation.
They were poets: Reveal your truth in language we have yet to discover.
They were barbers: Shape us as attentive caregivers to those around us.
They were custodians: Protect those whose work ensures our safety.
They were bus drivers: Carry us as companions in life’s unexpected journeys.
They were veterans: Remember those who risk harm for the sake of others.
They were librarians: Write on our hearts and minds the wisdom of the generations.
They were advocates: Call us to speak and act on behalf of those who are silenced.
They were public servants: Show us how to love our neighbors as ourselves.
They were legislators: Inscribe your laws of love and justice on our hearts.
In lives of faithful dedication, your servants Clementa, Cynthia, Daniel, DePayne, Ethel, Myra, Sharonda, Susie, and Tywanza lived by your promises, sharing their gifts with those in their families and communities. May we not forget their lives, taken too soon. In the years to come, let us share their names and their witness, so that the world comes to know of your spirit at work in and through them.
We ask this in the name of Jesus.
Prayer for Racial Justice
Save us, O God, from ourselves,
from racism often cloaked in pious words,
from the machinations of white supremacy hidden in calls for civility,
from micro aggressions thinly veiled in arrogance,
from apologies when they don’t give way to action,
from forgiveness without facing the truth,
from reconciliation without reparation.
Deliver us, O God, from expecting siblings of color to continue to bear this emotional work, which is not theirs to do.
Grateful for the long arc that bends toward justice, we pray:
Grant us wisdom,
give us courage for the facing of these days,
by the power of the Spirit, all for the sake of the kin-dom that we share in Christ Jesus.