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A Prayer for Breath

We on the Campus Ministry Team at Augsburg University offer a prayer for breath…the breath of life…the breath of life tragically denied George Floyd. On Monday, May 25 at approximately 8 pm in a Minneapolis neighborhood not far from Augsburg, George Floyd was pleading for breath with the knee and body weight of a Minneapolis police officer pressed upon his neck. The photos and video will steal your breath away as one white man’s vocation “to protect and serve” is disregarded in a racialized act of brutality that steals the life of a black man. Tragically, trauma and violence continue as racism and white supremacy infect our systems and institutions. We at Campus Ministry stand with our students, staff, and faculty who are crying for justice and standing for the right for all God’s beloved to breathe. God, have mercy. 

Scripture text: “Then the Lord God formed a human from the dust of the ground and breathed in their nostrils the breath of life; the human became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Let us pray:

Holy One, Holy Breath: we lift our full-throated lament to you as we hear George Floyd’s cry in our ear: “Please, I can’t breathe.” We grieve, O God, that the breath of life was extinguished yet again from another person of color in our country at the hands of police officers. Receive your dear one, George, into your merciful hands and into your eternal circle of love. Surround his family and friends with your presence and hold them in their grief and righteous anger. We pray that your Holy Spirit – the Wind of Justice – blows through the streets of Minneapolis as people gather to safely protest, cry out in pain, and demand accountability and change. Rattle the systems of oppression and topple down the white supremacy that grips our city and our nation. Uphold those who feel the trauma of this and other racialized acts of violence; give your healing to all your beloved. As we seek to breathe in this breathless moment, expand our lungs anew with your breath of life – the breath we all share as one human family created and conspired by your love. This we pray with bated breath as we hope for equality, justice, and peace. Amen. 


The Augsburg Campus Ministry Team:

Pastor Babette Chatman, University Pastor 

Fardosa Hassan, Muslim Student Program Associate

Sarah Swindall, Pastoral Intern

Janice Dames, Administrative Assistant

Sonja Thompson, University Organist 

Justin Lind-Ayres, University Pastor