Image from Disability Justice Network of Ontario

God of creativity-
of diversity, multiplicity, and accessibility,
You say in your house are many rooms.
You build a space where all can dwell
and live exactly as who we are-
without shame.

So forgive us for the ways that your Church
has shut out and shut in-
for making barriers to your presence,
forging walls to togetherness,
creating hierarchies of bodies and minds,
and building environments that are disabling.

Help us co-create with you
a house that welcomes the fullness of our selves. …

“Freedom Dance” by Corey Barksdale-

I’ve written about Juneteenth before, in 2020 and in 2019, but as a Korean American in this moment, I’ve been reflecting on how the “popularizing” of Juneteenth this year feels strange, like a cheapening and commercializing of the true meaning (and cost) of Black liberation. I wonder what it means for me, as a non-Black person to honor Juneteenth well and not just in gestures or in performative ways.

Here’s a short prayer I wrote in response this year, as I feel the tensions of more people celebrating this as a national holiday:


Art by: Molly Costello Art and Design

Today, on June 15, 2021, the U.S. hit 600,000 lives lost from the covid-19 pandemic. I wrote this prayer in response, thinking of our collective grief.

— — — — — — — — — -

God who wept, acquainted with sorrow,
Your tear-streaked face and snot-smeared cloak
were visible signs of how deeply you loved.

You said “yes” to the fullness of human experience,
and you know what it means to hold grief.

So hold us in our grief today.

Hold us who feel the weight of 600,00 intimately-
in the empty space of a bed once occupied,
the missing chair…

“Holy Trinity” by Ivanka Demchuk

Written for Trinity Sunday 2021. For the day our church doors re-opened again in a transition to hybrid services.

Holy, Triune God
You are the author of family,
The source of community
A generous host who welcomes us
To dwell in your loving presence

Gather us as one body today
a people made in your Triune image.

You teach us the gift of relational personhood-
To love and be loved
To know and be known
To be united in our glorious particularity.

Gather us as your communal people
Lifting up many diverse voices in one united chorus…

Jae-Im Kim (Korean), The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost, 1996. Collage. Source: Joy in the Lord: The Collage Art of Jae-Im Kim, vol. 1 (New Haven, Connecticut: OMSC Publications, 2009)

Oh Spirit of God-
who moves us in ways we cannot control,
who leads us to places we never dreamed-

We cry out to you this Pentecost Day,
for you to ignite the fires of possibility,
to stir up the winds of change.

Amidst the disruptions and rumblings of this past year,
we don’t want the upended fragments of our lives
to settle back into the status quo.
We don’t want for things to “return to normal.”

So come-
like a burning fire,
consume all sense of normalcy based on status quo
and rekindle Heaven’s sense of what is possible

Me and my umma

As we see images of Asian mothers and grandmothers brutally attacked in the street, including 2 Asian women who stabbed in San Francisco this past week, we give thanks for the countless ways they have loved and cared for us and future generations, even if those acts of love are overlooked.

— — — — — — — —

Holy God who is Mother,
your love is vast and infinite-
taking many forms,
grabbing hold of our hearts in countless ways.

On this day when we celebrate our mothers,
we praise you for Asian mothers,
whose mothering was granted to us in…

*Note about language: The White House has put out a statement that names May as AANHPI (Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) Heritage month. Some simply use the term AAPI, which I have used in the past. This year, I am trying to be more intentional about naming the realities of the South Asian community, particularly in the context of my own space of leadership (the church I’m pastoring) so am using the term APIDA instead, while also recognizing the term “Desi” is also not fully inclusive and not accepted by all in the South Asian community.

In general, it…

image from College of Lake County

Written by Erina Kim-Eubanks for Bethel Community Presbyterian Church, during APIDA (Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American) Heritage Month in May 2021. Based on Psalm 139:14, and written in connection with this poem.

Creator God,
Your works are wonderful and we know that full well

You see us all as beloved children,
Created with intention, held in grace, precious in your sight.

As our Asian American community is seen as a virus,
a peril, a threat to be eliminated

Remind us that you see our bodies as sacred. …

Artist Unknown

Oh God of the storm,
the swells are too much.

We are tiny boats in an unending sea
of furious, thrashing violence.
We’ve forgotten what peace feels like.

Every day we are tossed by another surge-
more names of babies being killed,
more sites where the ordinary turns to tragedy,
more children being torn from their families,
more elders seen as a virus to be eliminated.

The weight of it all is breaking us-
sinking our spirits
drowning our dreams,
destroying our families,
disorienting us from where we’re supposed to go.

Would you arise in authority!
Give us a reason to have faith again.
Usher in your prevailing peace,
show us that every storm must end.

We want to be wowed by your power
instead of our own capacity for bloodshed.


Daunte Wright Image courtesy of Katie Wright

If I,
a Korean American woman,
am this weary
being outraged,
saying “How long, oh Lord,”
more trending hashtags,
new names to remember and say,
another precious life taken too soon,
mamas having to grieve in front of cameras,
children robbed of entire lifetimes with their parents
wondering who in my life it could have been,
the inevitable gaslighting, excuses, blame,
calls for peaceful protest,
cries of bad apples and “accidental discharge”
instead of indicting a system damned from the beginning,

I wonder how tiring it feels
to be Black in America,
to know that every single day
white supremacy is trying…

Erina Kim-Eubanks

Co-Pastor @bethelcommunitysl | Director of Advocacy @fphayward | pastor, activist, writer | married to @eubanksme | co-author of @lentenlament | she/her

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