Lament: Anti-Asian Hatred

Sent by Rev. Ellendale; reposted from the PAX Center for Christian Spiritual Formation

We stand with all our friends and loved ones at St. John’s and beyond who are Asian or Asian American.

To our brothers and sisters of Asian descent,

Let us first say, we are sorry. The pain and injustice that you are experiencing is deep and we are crying out with you even as we must look inward to notice if there are places where we have not done what was needed. 

We see you, hear you and we stand with you. The hate must stop. We desire to join in a cry of lament with and for you. And so, in unity with you and before God, we humbly offer this prayer of lament written by a dear friend and PAX TL2 graduate. Let’s listen together.  

Prayer of Lament: Confessions of an Asian American Woman

I don’t even know where to begin.  
So I begin here with a confession: I am not okay.

This may not seem like a revolutionary statement. 
Yet for an Asian American woman like me,
to acknowledge pain in the moment 
(and not when wounds have calloused over),
to draw attention to myself 
(and not shy away from being at the center),
to name things for what they are 
(and not say what I think others want to hear),

this is revolutionary.

I am not okay.
I am not okay, Lord.

I come from a proud culture.  
We put up brave fronts.
We save face. 
We lie to keep the peace.
We do not rock the boat.
We try to bring honor to our names and to our families,
even at the risk of not asking for help when we need it, 
even at the risk of denying our own dignity and worth. 

Lord, we are accustomed to taking the back seat, 
doing hard labor for little pay, 
working without ceasing, as though our entire worth rests upon our productivity.  
We are used to being ignored,
hailed as models yet rejected as competitors.
We know the pain of trying to fit in, of searching for belonging, 
yet never feeling quite seen.

Oh, but we do know what it’s like to be seen.  
To be seen as quiet, meek, subservient,
To be seen as sex objects,
To be seen as perpetual foreigners,
To be seen as people who do not belong here.

Lord, we need you.  
I need you.
Where are you? 

Forgive us for not seeing ourselves the way You see us.
Forgive us for shrinking ourselves and not taking up our rightful space.
Forgive us for having stayed silent for too long about our own pain.
Forgive us for having stayed silent for too long about the pain of others who have been marginalized as well. 

Forgive them, too, Lord, for not seeing us the way You see us.

Give us courage to speak, live, and breathe with expansiveness in our hearts.
Give us vision to see Your love for our people.
Give us friends who are ready to comfort, mourn, pray, listen, march, and advocate. 
We are beautifully and wonderfully made.
We can be proud and dignified.
We can speak truth to life.
We can belong, not because of the work of our hands,
but because of the work of Yours.
Let this be true, Lord, let this be true.

Tina Lu
March 19, 2021

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