Prayer of confession for white settler churches

Garry Deverell is a trawloolway man and Anglican priest from trouwerner (Tasmania, Australia). He has written a prayer of confession for use in white settler churches in the face of ecological catastrophe. This week, as country burns, people, wildlife and ecosystems are killed, and we all choke on the smoke haze, let us pray this prayer and dwell on it deeply; and may the Holy Spirit work through it to heal and transform our hearts, our economics, our lives, and the land.

God of Jesus Christ
we come to you because there is no-where else to turn.
There is a famine in our land, a famine with regard to living and telling the truth.

We confess that we invaded this land and enslaved its peoples,
the people who have cared for this country and its waterways for thousands upon thousands of years.

We confess that we have wilfully ignored the wisdom of the First Peoples,
wisdom about how to live in this country in a way that honours and preserves all life,
that we have trampled their knowledge underfoot and treated it with contempt.

We confess that we have treated the land itself with contempt,
and its seas and waterways also.
We have not cared for it as we ought to have done.
Instead we have exploited and raped it to feed our selfish appetites.

Now the land is sick.
It weeps and cries out in pain.
Its plants and animals, the rich tapestry of its eco-systems,
are burning up for lack of nourishment and care.
And it is our fault.

Teach us, O God, to amend both our lives
and the political and economic systems in which they are embedded.
Teach us to treasure the First Nations of this land
and their wisdom about how to live here with respect and sensitivity.
Teach us to treasure the country and waterways on which we depend,
its cycles and seasons, its plants and animals, its fragile and beautiful ecosystems.
Teach us to call our political leaders to account.
Teach us, O God, to live and tell the truth.

God of Jesus Christ,
We come to you because there is no-where else to turn.
Have mercy on us and free us from our sins.
Amen.

Emailed to Sanctuary 15 January 2020 © Sanctuary, 2020. Prayer © Garry Deverell, 2020, offered to the settler churches and reproduced here with his permission. You can read more of Garry’s thoughts and prayers at his website here. Image credit: Benjamin Lizardo on Unsplash.

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