The U.S. Senate chaplain asked God to “inoculate our nation against hate, sin and despair” in a prayer Monday that referenced the death of George Floyd, the ongoing protests and the coronavirus pandemic.
Barry C. Black, who has served as chaplain since 2003 and is respected by both sides of the aisle, delivered the prayer at the beginning of Monday’s Senate session.
“Eternal God, who has placed our tears in a bottle, today, we weep,” Black prayed. “We weep because every death diminishes us. We weep because of the grief of George Floyd's family. We weep because of the explosive impact of deferred dreams. We weep because of the potentially catastrophic consequences of peaceful protesting during a pandemic.
“We weep because justice delayed is justice denied. We weep because of the paralysis of analysis that often impedes Your prevailing providence. We weep because of our personal culpability during these tragic times. We weep because of our sins of commission and omission. We weep because we know You are weeping.
“Today,” he prayed, “use our lawmakers for Your glory. May they strive to find a vaccine to inoculate our nation against hate, sin and despair. We pray in Your merciful Name. Amen.”
Black, a Seventh Day Adventist, is the author of five faith-themed books, including From the Hood to the Hill: a Story of Overcoming (2006). The “critical factor” in his career success, he wrote, “was my commitment to never underestimate the unfolding of God’s loving providence, and to expect the unexpected.”
“This meant seeking God’s will, pursuing His purposes,” he wrote.
He served 27 years in the Navy and ended his career as the chief of Navy chaplains. He is an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern Baptist Seminary, Salve Regina University and United States International University, according to his official Senate biography.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.