I’ve known the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, currently the dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, for six years now and knew of him before that when he was a college chaplain. I have followed the work he has done with other clergy in the St. Louis area since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri this past August. Here is one of the four things he asked in particular of his clergy colleagues last week:

Pray. This is definitely "last but not least." Pray for us and know that we are praying for you. Pray not for an easy peace but pray for transformation. Pray for courage. Pray for us not to fear and shrink from conflict but to let conflict drive us to transformation. Pray for God's Holy Spirit to move us in ways that we scarcely believe possible. Pray that all of us -- we here in St. Louis and you wherever you are -- may use this moment in time as a great opportunity to show how deeply we trust in Jesus and the amazing things that Christ can do.

For the full text of Rev. Kinman's letter, click here.

As we waited and then heard the announcement of the grand jury’s decision, we were praying in my house. As we saw the various reactions in the crowd of protesters and agitators, we prayed. As we watched groups huddled in prayer, we prayed. As we watched tear gas be used and thrown back, car windows broken and vandals moved away, rocks and bottles thrown and automatic weapons carried, we prayed.

We prayed for peace, for listening, for hearing, and for calm. We prayed for the sorrowful, the disappointed, and for those whose sense of trust is wounded. We prayed for safety for protestors, agitators, clergy, police, and media alike. We prayed that reason, even in the face of justice that seems frustrated, would prevail.

My prayer this morning is this: that we listen to and hear each other. I pray this especially for those of us who undeservedly benefit from the color of our skin. We need to be willing to do the hard listening and acknowledge that there are different experiences of life in America, not just because of income level, education, or career, but because of race. I confess that I benefit from white privilege. My penance is to listen, to hear, and to work for the Beloved Community, where skin color does not matter, to be made manifest on earth and in our land.

Will you join me?