A Litany for Black History Month

By Jabriel Malik Hasan (M.Div., ‘22)

One: Source of our being, manifested in Word and Spirit, we enter ever more deeply into your presence, calling on You, because You are our stronghold and our deliverer; You are our rock in a weary land; You are our balm in Gilead, and we praise You.  We worship You for your great majesty and your overwhelming love, and we thank You for Your great faithfulness unto us.

All:   We glorify You, for You have kept us in the midst of it all.  Aṣẹ.**

One: Morning by morning new mercies we see, we ask for Your mercy on our souls for every way that we consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously forget you. Show mercy on our ignorance in Your sight.  We ask mercy for the desecration of earth and space, for the desecration of our bodies, minds, and spirits.  We ask mercy for worshipping the false gods of materialism, colonialism, classism, colorism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, and all other forms of egoism.  We ask mercy for believing and perpetuating lies that hurt us and others, confusing the beauty of Your harmonious nature.

All:   Have Mercy on us and strengthen us by Your Spirit.  Lead us to Zion.  Aṣẹ.

One: Lest we forget, we remember all who have perished in the struggle for justice.  We remember all who perished in the middle passage, dying shackled, laying in their own excrement.  We remember those who sacrificed themselves to the sea.  We remember the Martins, the Malcolms, the Medgers, the Mary Turners, the Trayvon Martins, the Eric Garners, the Mike Browns, the Marsha P. Johnsons, the Muhlaysia Bookers, and the countless others whose bodies have been claimed by acts of violence and terrorism.

All:   Lest we forget, we remember the enslavement, the torture, the beatings, the lynching, the vandalism, the rapes, the murders, the massacres, the genocide.  We remember the psychological and physical abuse and trauma.  [Moment of Silence]

One: But You are our help. You are our lily of the valley.  We know that our redeemer lives, and that You empower us by Your Spirit.  Your blood never loses its power, and so here, we stand as intercessors bearing Your image.

All:   We magnify Your restoring power in us to heal this stolen land, to purify the earth, air, and sea; to, in all mercy and humility, dismantle structures of injustice and oppression; to break every chain; to imagine and create fresh expressions of being; to build strong families; to mobilize responsible and ethical civic leadership and engagement; to promote sustainable economic development that serves the needs of all; to encourage in every way the general wellness and wholeness of the Black community; to bring life to dry bones; to walk always in remembrance of You, and thereby reconcile all to Your infinite oneness.  Aṣẹ.

One: You, who are All-in-All, inflame all existence with Your transforming love. Resurrect all existence by Your abundant grace.  Embolden us to relinquish fear and do the work our souls must have.

All:   We are Your peace, and we worship You. Aṣẹ. 

One: Bringing the gifts that our ancestors gave, we are the dream and the hope of the enslaved.  We rise, we rise, we rise.

All:   Let all be done in accordance with Your will and may all the ancestors bless us; may all the saints, angels, and all heavenly hosts bless us; may all the holy martyrs, apostles, and prophets bless us.  We are blessed in the name of God, Source, Word, and Holy Spirit.  Aṣẹ.  Aṣẹ.  Aṣẹ.

**Aṣẹ. comes from the Yoruba tradition of West Africa and is likened to “Amen” and “And so it is.”  It expresses the power to manifest.

© 2020 Jabriel Hasan. Printed with permission of the author. All rights reserved.

* Jabriel Malki Hasan, M.Div., ‘22