Living Psalms Book
Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.
Living Psalm 40:1-11
For Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
[To the Leader. Of Civil Rights. A Psalm.]
A Prayer for Freedom
1I patiently waited on that balcony Lord,
For you to hear my cry. You leaned in when I was murdered.
2And pulled me from this sunken place
full of segregated lunch counters and water hoses
You let me stand on the mountain top
With my marching feet firm
3And you gave Mahalia a new song,
“Take My Hand Precious Lord.”
Many saw the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,
And they honor and trust you, the liberating God.
4You bless all bodies who trust you, Lord,
And refuse to bow down to the idol of whiteness
Or follow manipulated whitewashed theologies.
5You, Lord God, have already brought our ancestors thus far on the way,
And you have the wildest dreams of our ancestors shadowed beneath your hand.
We let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies.
6Capitalistic production and nationalism are not what please you,
The blood of black bodies and the criminalization of poverty are not what you require.
7And so, I said, “We are God’s children. Our cry is the same, we want to be free.
Survival demands that we grapple…I have a dream.”
8Our freedom pleases you. We are going to march again.
Jim Crow laws are not your will. Your law is in my heart.
9When we worshipped together in Memphis,
You were there and heard me say,
“There is a certain kind of fire no amount of water can put out.”
10When your people gathered together and marched out of Clayborn Temple,
We did not remain silent in our message.
We said, “I Am A Man.”
11Do not, O Lord, withhold liberation from us in our lifetime;
Because you are faithful and merciful and your steadfast love keeps us
We know deep in our hearts, we believe deep in our hearts,
That We Shall Overcome. We Shall Overcome. We Shall Overcome Someday.
Living Psalm 40: 1-11 was written by Minister Vahisha Hasan, M.A., Ed.S., M.Div.,Assistant Professor of Human Services at Memphis Center for Urban & Theological Studies (MCUTS), and Executive Director of Movement In Faith working at the intersections of faith, social justice, and mental health.
Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community. Maren Tirabassi, editor
Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA.Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.
© Copyright 2020 Faith INFO Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.