53 years today, October 2nd 1967, The Honorable Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The first Black person to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, just two weeks ago, there has been much talk of the Supreme Court.
53 years have passed since our first Black Justice was sworn in, America has had a Black president. Yet, Black Americans, Indigenous peoples, and other People of Color, still do not know justice.
Both Justice Marshall and Justice Ginsberg spent their careers fighting for equality for people forced to the margins and those suffering under the weight of unjust systems and institutions. Justice Ginsberg and Justice Marshall both recognized that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
Let us pause today in prayer, giving thanks for the life and work of these prophetic voices and pray for the strength, wisdom, and guidance to honor their legacies and continue their work.
Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
God of this and all nations, we claim to be a nation where all are created equal, yet we continue to entertain the violence of inequity. We turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to those who have been denied equal treatment. Under the law of the land, all people are created equal and free. We know this is not lived out in reality. Under God’s law, all are created in the divine image, we know this Truth is not lived out in reality. Open our hearts, eyes and ears to see, hear and believe the Truth of the lives lived by People of Color.
Source of life, hear our confession and grant us mercy. We fear change and discomfort, call us to new patterns of living and even though they may be difficult. We work out of our own power and pursue our own agenda, that benefits us and keeps us comfortable. We fail to see your transforming vision for ourselves and all of creation. Empower our lives with the Holy Spirit to take concrete steps toward healing, restoration, and ultimately reconciliation.
God of promise, we give you thanks for the lives and work of Justice Marshall and Justice Ginsberg. May their memory be a blessing, a blessing that fills our hearts and minds with the desire to continue their work in pursuit of equality, equity, and justice. Help us to find ways to live fully in your promises of grace, mercy, allowing all to be free from racism, sexism, and all the ‘isms’ that oppress. Let us not be content with the way things are. Push us and pull us into making this world into a new world, one where your desires for full life for all are lived out. Shalom and Amen.
“I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” – Justice Thurgood Marshall