I recently found a vintage book of a collection of prayers by Robert Castle – Prayers from a burned-out city – 1968. Castle was a Reverend at St. John’s Church in my neighborhood in the 60s and very involved in the Civil Right’s Movement of that time. His prayers feel so unbelievably timely. I wrote one of them down on my spread:
People are scared
A whole lot of people are scared, Lord, just plain scared.
You know why?
The “Man” has got a lot of people thinking scared- brainwashed into thinking they can’t do anything to change things
like changing schools, jobs, houses,
the cops, City Hall, and just lots of things.
Making people think they are nobody and powerless is the work of the devil, Lord.
That’s what we call the “Man” lots of times, Lord – the devil.
I’m praying real hard and loud that we are all somebody. You’re in us, aint you, Lord? I can just feel yo in me. Lots of time I get in your way but I feel you.
And I feel you getting to me and saying:
No more being scared.
The Lord ain’t scared – never has been – never will be.
No more scared.
I got the power, Lord –
I got you and I’m someboday.
I’m somebody so damned special and important, that I’m on my way.
I’m on my way up to the “devil man, ” Lord,
and I’m going to wrestle him down like you did.
And I’m going to win the “Man” like you won the devil.
The angels are going to come and minister to me. Bless those angels, Lord.
I painted the building as study for a later painting using spraypaints, acrylic paints, and acrylic markers. The building is on the same street as the Church and the former home of Reverend Castle and I thought of how he must have passed this house many times walking around, maybe thinking about his prayers and sermons.
Here’s a closer look at some of the details.
Here are some of the supplies I used: