On Saturday at the National Mall in Washington D.C., thousands of evangelicals gathered to worship, learn from key speakers and pray for the nation. While the event was targeted toward millennials, people of every age came with the intention of “filling the mall.”
One of the big names in the line up included Gospel singer Kirk Franklin, whose new album Losing My Religion came out in November. Franklin led the gathering in a moving prayer that has garnered a lot of attention. According to an article by Religion News Service, Franklin asked God to “let me die for my home, let me die for my community, let me die for a white man, let me die for a black man, let me die for an Hispanic man, let me die for an Asian man….Let me get out of the way so you can be God in my life.”
The speakers and leaders of the event placed a strong emphasis on unity and reconciliation. Pointing to the desperation many are feeling over all the recent terrorist attacks, shootings, racial tension and all the different opinions surrounding these events, Nick Hall opened the event by praying, “God, we don’t need to hear from some man or some woman…God, we don’t need to hear from some band. We need to hear from heaven today. That’s why we’ve come.”
In an interview with Christian Post after the conclusion of the event, Kirk Franklin addressed the racial tension in the States more directly. When asked what he thought could restore hope in America in light of all the tension, Franklin pointed to the need for the church to step up. He said, “We have to confess as a church where we have failed the culture, ‘cause we have failed the culture….We have to confess—white churches and black churches have to confess that we left a space and the world filled it with its own narrative. It’s created its own narrative because we were absent.”
Franklin went on to say that the church forfeits its credibility when the culture sees us as divided. He called for the need for Christians to admit their mistakes and ask forgiveness—to confess. “So if there are white Christian leaders that join black Christian leaders and say, ‘We dropped the ball, we know we did and we’re here to pick it up, to confess our sins to one another to the culture.’ Then I believe that gives God freedom—when we confess and it opens up the opportunity to regain credibility with unChristian ideas, culture and people who have seen us not get it right.”
Franklin is not shy when it comes to the recent shootings and tension the nation is facing. His Twitter account and Facebook page call for prayer, for healing, and point to the outrage he feels for the lives lost.
Let us continue to pray for reconciliation among races, and let us follow Franklin’s advice by allowing confession of wrongs to start in the house of God.