Columbine, West Paducah, Roseburg, West Virginia, Missouri, Florida, Maryland,
urban centers, rural farmland, college campuses, elementary schools, high schools,
movie theaters, church buildings, shopping malls, street corners…
and the list goes on….
places where violence breaks out; where fear and death seize the day;
places that cause us to pause and wonder yet again the value of human life;
places that send ripples of pain and harm, guilt, shame and anger
that individuals can bring forth from the whole human family.
Disaster strikes and everyone has their input…
politicians and pollsters, medical doctors and spin doctors,
protectors and protestors, survivors and loved ones.
All are called upon to comment on the causes and outcomes
and the ongoing conversation and controversies of guns and violence.
As a church, part of the Church,
may our hearts always turn to the Lord of the Church
to receive the pain and tears we experience when violence breaks out, and
may we always turn to the Prince of Peace
to receive our supplication and intercessions
both in response to these moments of tragedy and
looking ahead to the cessation of these tragedies.
Here is a recent offering by a present-day woman of faith,
whose keen observation of our world expresses itself through the words of a hymn:
God of Mercy, You Have Shown Us – Carolyn Gillette
God of mercy, you have shown us ways of living that are good: Work for justice, treasure kindness, humbly journey with the Lord. Yet your people here are grieving, hurt by weapons that destroy. Help us turn to you, believing in your way that brings us joy.
On a street where neighbors gather, shots are heard; a young girl dies. On a campus, students scatter as the violence claims more lives. In a family filled with anger, tempers flare and shots resound. God of love, we weep and wonder at the violence all around.
God, we pray for those who suffer when this world seems so unfair; May your church be quick to offer loving comfort, gentle care. And we pray: Amid the violence, may we speak your truth, O Lord! Give us strength to break the silence, saying, “This can be no more!”
Let us pray for peace…work for peace…be makers of peace.