August 30, 2019
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker
Priest, The Episcopal Church (Anglican Communion)

God, we call upon you using many names, and sometimes we choose not to speak. We come before you as people of holy faith, we come before you as people of holy doubt, wanting our hearts to become soft rather than hard, energized rather than empty, so that we may help repair the torn fabric of this world.

We are here because we remember people absent from us, absent from this earth, but not, we believe, absent from your concern. You have their names written on the palms of your hands, and while even a mother may forget her child, you never forget any of them. You know them all by name.

These ones we remember, and honor, and love, they have disappeared, and we grieve for them, but because you remember them, they are not completely gone. And so in our loss we dare to claim them as present even now, even here, every one of them present in a renewal of life that surpasses human understanding.

We are not content simply to honor their memories, or even to count them present here today. So, divine Mystery, Merciful and Just, pour the abundance of your Spirit upon each and every one of us now visible in this place.

Empower us all to be strong advocates, persuasive voices, messengers of hope:

• so that justice will be done on behalf of all the victims known to us and unknown;

• so that perpetrators will confess their crimes and be set free from their own darkness;

• so that people striving for justice and peace anywhere on earth and at any time will not fear for their safety or their lives.

• so that enforced disappearances never happen again on this good green earth.

For the realization of such audacious goals pour the abundance of your Spirit upon us today that we, even we, may serve as strong advocates, persuasive voices, messengers of hope.

As people of holy faith, people of holy doubt, we invite you, Gracious One, to work through us all. We believe you are eager to do so.

Father Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Episcopal Church who lives in Greenbelt, Maryland. He serves on the board of the Frances Perkins Center in Maine, named for the United States Labor
Secretary known as “the woman behind the New Deal.” Father Hoffacker assists informally at parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and contributes sermons, reviews, and articles to a variety of publications.

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