Lord God, during this Lenten season, teach us to come before you in humility, lamenting the signs that your kingdom has not yet come in its fullness. Help us to acknowledge our finitude and failings, and guide us into a journey of remembering rightly, repenting honestly, and responding faithfully. We long for the coming of your mosaic kingdom in Jesus Christ, our Lord, and invite your Holy Spirit to lead us now.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY: MARCH 3, 1991
Rodney King Beating
Rodney King was an African American taxi driver who was beaten by a group of Los Angeles Police Department officers, following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991. A witness, George Holliday, videotaped the beating from his balcony, and submitted the footage to a local news station. The footage shows four officers surrounding King, several of them striking him repeatedly, while other officers stand by and watch. Parts of the footage were aired around the world, and again raised public unease about the realities of police brutality.
The four officers involved were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Three of the officers were acquitted of all charges. The jury acquitted the fourth of assault with a deadly weapon but failed to reach a verdict on the use of excessive force. The jury deadlocked at 8–4 in favor of acquittal at the state level.
The acquittal of these officers also led the federal government to obtain grand jury indictments for violations of King’s civil rights. The trial of the four in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1992, with two of the officers being found guilty and subsequently imprisoned. The other two were acquitted again.
These acquittals sparked protest and as officers tried to respond to and patrol the protest, they triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which lasted from April 29-May 4th and led to more than 11,000 arrests, 2,000 injuries, and more than 60 deaths, including 10 who were shot to death by law enforcement officials
SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: ISAIAH 59:4-9
“No one calls for justice;
no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
5 They hatch the eggs of vipers
and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
and acts of violence are in their hands.
7 Their feet rush into sin;
they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
acts of violence mark their ways.
8 The way of peace they do not know;
there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks along them will know peace.
9 So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.”
RESPONSE OF LAMENT AND CONFESSION: Please spend some time in personal response, crying out to God with prayers, poems, songs, or art that expresses your lament and confession. If you feel led, please share these responses with others, using #lentenlament #day3
You may close with the following:
Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
CLOSING PRAYER: A PRAYER FOR LIBERATION THAT LEADS TO LIBERATING LOVE (Frank Madison Reid III, 1994)
O God, who is a father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless, and a friend to the friendless, we come seeking fellowship with your powerful and peaceful presence.
In a culture filled with divisiveness, disconnectedness, and domination, we pause for a moment of Christ-centered connection that will bring wholeness and healing to ourselves and our world.
We take time right now to worship you, to adore you, to magnify you, and to praise your holy name….
O God, liberate us from the domination of individual and institutional violence. Liberate us for the ministry of deliverance to the captives within and without.
Liberate us from a self-centered spiritual materialism and liberate us to serve the present age.
Liberate us from building our kingdoms and liberate us for the Kingdom of God.
Now God, we thank you for your liberating love which redeems us, restores us, and revives and resurrects us. We thank you for the gift of love you gave us in Jesus Christ. We thank you that it is because of your divine liberating love that we are able to serve, to stand, and have this moment of prayer, strengthened for the journey of this day. Amen.
-From Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans