Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* George Freeman Bragg, Jr. and W. E. B. Du Bois *


O God, our heavenly Father, who has commanded us to love one another as your children, and has ordained the highest friendship in the bond of your Spirit, we beseech you to maintain and preserve us always in the same bond, to your glory, and our mutual comfort, with all those to whom we are bound by any special tie, either of nature or of choice; that we may be perfected together in that love which is from above, and which never fails when all other things shall fail. Send down the dew of your heavenly grace upon us, that we may have joy in each other that passes not away; and, having lived together in love here, according to your commandment, may live for ever together with them, being made one in you, in your glorious kingdom hereafter, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( Hickes’ Devotions )


Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord.

When Israel came out of Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of a strange tongue,
Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

The sea saw that, and fled;
Jordan was driven back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
the little hills like young sheep.

What ailed you, O sea, that you fled?
O Jordan, that you were driven back?
You mountains, that you skipped like rams,
you little hills like young sheep?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the hard rock into a pool of water,
the flint-stone into a springing well.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord.

Strike the rock of our hard hearts, O God,
and let our tears of joy and sorrow
mould us to bear the imprint of your love,
given in Christ our risen Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

George Freeman Bragg, Jr. and W. E. B. Du Bois

Today Saint Laika's remembers two African American men who helped black Americans find their voice in the generations following the Civil War. In the aftermath of the Civil War, with the end of slavery, many states passed discriminatory laws against black Americans. They came to be known as Jim Crow laws. The phrase "Jim Crow" has often been attributed to "Jump Jim Crow", a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface, which first surfaced in 1832.

Booker T. Washington was one leading African-American voice. In 1895 his “Atlanta Compromise” called for avoiding confrontation over segregation and instead putting more reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement in the black community. Washington mobilised a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community's economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling.

But his voice was not the only voice in those days. W.E.B. DuBois, an African-American living in the North, rose to national prominence as the leader of a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the "Atlanta Compromise" and insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite.

He was one of the co-founders of the "National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP)" in 1909. He was a tireless advocate for civil rights for blacks. He lived to the age of ninety-five, and died in 1963, just one year before the "American Civil Rights Act" of 1964 was signed into law, which embodied many of the reforms DuBois had championed his entire life.

George Freeman Bragg was a contemporary of W.E.B. DuBois. He was an Episcopalian and became a priest in 1888. He helped the Episcopal Church confront its own racism and colonialism with regard to blacks. The Church was good at providing charity to its black members, but did little to help them to independence by raising up lay and clergy leadership. Bragg himself was responsible for leading at least twenty African American men into the Episcopal priesthood. He was the editor of the "Afro-American Churchman." He died in 1940.

Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Thirteen," verses five to eight, we read:

Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the descendants of slaves in the U.S.A., that they may achieve full and equal citizenship, in reality as well as on paper.

... for an end to all systems that segregate one group of people from another and attitudes that regard one group of people as of less worth than another.

... for black ministers of religion.

... for communities and individuals threatened by wild fires and for the firefighters working to put out the fires.

... for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

... for people who feel vulnerable and threatened when away from their homes; for the safety of people traveling alone.

... for those on or about to go on vacation, that they may find refreshment.

... for those who are about to retire, that they may find new purpose and opportunity in their lives.

... for mental health patients living in acute units and secure facilities.

... for babies who have died from cot death syndrome and for their parents and siblings.

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. Du Bois:

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanise America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.

This, then, is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius.

Away back in the days of bondage they thought to see in one divine event the end of all doubt and disappointment; few men ever worshipped Freedom with half such unquestioning faith as did the American Negro for two centuries. To him, so far as he thought and dreamed, slavery was indeed the sum of all villainies, the cause of all sorrow, the root of all prejudice; Emancipation was the key to a promised land of sweeter beauty than ever stretched before the eyes of wearied Israelites. In song and exhortation swelled one refrain—Liberty; in his tears and curses the God he implored had Freedom in his right hand. At last it came, suddenly, fearfully, like a dream. With one wild carnival of blood and passion came the message in his own plaintive cadences:—

"Shout, O children!
Shout, you're free!
For God has bought your liberty!"

Years have passed away since then,—ten, twenty, forty; forty years of national life, forty years of renewal and development, and yet the swarthy spectre sits in its accustomed seat at the Nation's feast. In vain do we cry to this our vastest social problem:—

"Take any shape but that,
and my firm nerves
shall never tremble!"

The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land. Whatever of good may have come in these years of change, the shadow of a deep disappointment rests upon the Negro people, a disappointment all the more bitter because the unattained ideal was unbounded save by the simple ignorance of a lowly people.


Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of W. E. B. DuBois, passionate prophet of civil rights, and for the witness of George Freeman Bragg, tireless priest and shepherd of the flock, who advanced the dignity of African-Americans in both church and state. We pray that we, like them, may use our gifts to do justice in the Name of Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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