March 4- Day 4 of Lent

OPENING PRAYER:

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 4, 2011

Violence against people who are perceived as Muslims in Elk Grove, CA

On March 4, 2011, two elderly Sikhs were shot as they took an afternoon stroll in Elk Grove, California, a suburb of Sacramento. Surinder Singh, 65, was pronounced dead at the scene, while his friend Gurmej Atwal, 78, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and died six weeks later. Both men were gunned down as they were walking through a quiet neighborhood. The gunmen were never found. It was determined that these men were most likely killed because they were perceived as Muslims. 

Violence against people who are perceived as Muslims has consistently increased since 9/11, and has intensified even more over the last few months. A December, 2015, study by Public Religion Research Institute found that most Americans don’t actually know any Muslims — at least, not personally. In fact, more than 6 in 10 have seldom or never had a conversation with a Muslim. Moreover, most Americans also say they know little (57%) or nothing at all (26%) about Islam. In spite of this reality, Islamophobia runs rampant in our nation.

assaults

Muslims have been shot and killed, execution-style, in their living rooms and outside of their mosques. They have been fatally stabbed on their way home. They have been beaten in their stores, in their schools and on the streets. They have been kicked off airplanes, egged outside Walmart, scorched with hot coffee in a park, shot in cabs and punched while pushing their children in strollers. Their clothes have been set on fire and their children have been bullied. Men have come to their door and told them that they would burn down their houses if they did not move away. They have been fired for wearing hijabs and for praying. They have seen their cemeteries vandalized and their Quran desecrated. A Muslim congressman has received death threats, and business owners have posted signs advertising “Muslim-free zones.

These types of hate crimes have continued throughout Trump’s presidency thus far, and his administration has recently promoted policies that would ban immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations.

SCRIPTURAL REFLECTION: LUKE 10:30-37

30 “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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 #day4

You may close with the following:

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

CLOSING PRAYER: PRAYER OF PEACE (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Clergy, 1991)

Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.
Great and wonderful are Your works, wondrous are your ways.
Thank You for the many splendoured variety of Your creation.
Thank You for the many ways we affirm Your presence and purpose,
and the freedom to do so.

Forgive our violation of Your creation.
Forgive our violence toward each other.
We stand in awe and gratitude for Your persistent love
for each and all of Your children:
Christian, Jew, Muslim,
as well as those with other faiths.

Grant to all and our leaders attributes of the strong;
mutual respect in words and deed,
restraint in the exercise of power, and
the will for peace with justice, for all.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.

Amen.

Excerpted from Current Dialogue 24/93, p.36

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