Ritual for a New Banner

These words were used while we raised a new banner that proclaims “Black Lives Matter.”


From “On the Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou

(Reader #1)
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I, the River, I, the Tree

I am yours – your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes
Upon this day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

(Reader #2)
Women, children, men
Take it into the palms of your hands,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
the image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning. 
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

(Reader #3)
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space
To place new steps of change
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me,
The Rock, the River, the Tree, your country…..

(Reader #4)
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes,
And into your brother’s face,
Your country,
And say simply
Very simply
With hope –
Good morning.

Before hanging the Banner

In the words of Howard Thurman, as we hang this banner, . . . “In the quietness of this place, surrounded by the all-pervading presence of God, my heart whispers: Keep fresh before me the moments of my High Resolve, that in fair weather or in foul, in good times or in tempests, in the days when the darkness and the foe are nameless or familiar, I may not forget that to which my life is committed. Keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve.”

After hanging the Banner

Please respond with these words of Dr. King: “May we be reminded of the fierce urgency of now.”

When we painfully realize that our society and our systems do not live up to the ideal that all are created equal.

May we be reminded of the fierce urgency of now.

When we weep for the death of a child whose future was lost while simply playing with a toy.

May we be reminded of the fierce urgency of now.

When we mourn that the table of brotherhood is not used enough, not big enough, not celebrated enough.

May we be reminded of the fierce urgency of now.

When we grieve, yet again, for the constant criminalization of people of color that prevents us from creating an oasis of freedom and justice.

May we be reminded of the fierce urgency of now.

Because we know in our hearts that the dream of being judged by character above color has not yet been fulfilled.

May we be reminded of the fierce urgency of now.

Let us hold this in our hearts, together, in a moment of silence.

Ritual of Caring

“We affirm and promote the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part.”
Dr. King put it this way: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one affects all indirectly.”

Here we are, this morning, interdependent, interconnected, interbeing with one another; a people whose lives are sad and glad, mad and even scared. We take a moment now to show our care, our interconnections, and even to weave the single garment of our destiny. 

Let’s each find a partner, take each other’s hands; look into each other’s eyes. (You won’t need your papers for this. I’ll give instructions.)
Rev. Dr. Jaqui Lewis reminds us of the Zulu concept of Ubuntu, where our humanity is affirmed as each speaks to the other: “I see you,” says one partner; “I exist” is the response. Take some time. Look into your partner’s eyes and say those words to each other as you feel moved to do so.  

(after a few moments)
Please repeat after me:
“What breaks your heart breaks mine.
“What lifts your spirits lifts mine.
“Your courage gives me courage. 
“Our lives are connected.”


Minister’s Good Word

“Every soul is precious, each person born with inherent worth and dignity; and in this place and time, my dream is that this congregation will boldly proclaim: Black Lives Matter.”

Blessed be. Amen.

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