There has been yet another school shooting. So far, 9 people have died and several more are in area hospitals in surgery. Several of you have reached out to me about this event, and, yes, Santa Fe, Texas is about 20 miles from my childhood home in Galveston. This shooting has left me deeply troubled. I am sure that some of you are wondering what your prayer should be at this time. I am adding here a prayer my own that you can use if you have trouble finding your own words.
O Maker of all things – seen and unseen!
We would say our hearts are broken,
but they have been broken so many times
and over events exactly like this
that the pieces seem too small to break anymore.
We are tempted to offer our thoughts and prayers,
but our minds are so clouded by shock and grief
that we are at a loss to even know that for which we should pray.
We can at least ask – that clouds of witnesses of your grace and providence
may form around those who grieve the dead and are terror-struck for the wounded.
That one day these who are captured by loss may know the daylight of joy you promise to come after the long night of mourning.
We pray for the restoration of peace of mind and hope in living for the first responders, teachers and medical personnel who will never be able to unsee the bloody hell hate released on this day.
We pray for the thousands of parents, grandparents and families of the students
whose mouths went dry in horror while their faces were washed with tears –
may the panic of this day soon pass and the fear they feel now be transformed into caring, not just for their own, but for all our own.
We pray for ourselves that we may neither be frozen in helpless inactivity,
nor act in wild desperation, doing things that will not truly help us in our hour of need.
May those in authority over us, however, be stricken in sole, crown, soul, mind and heart with disgust at their own cowardice and inactivity. Lead them, we pray, on their and our behalf, to courage and wisdom so that they may create structures, laws and institutions in which we may care for the dispossessed,
those filled with hate, the lonely, the angry, the ill and the misguided.
Make those you have created around us in your own image our priority.
May this kind of catastrophe never happen agin, we ask, but whatever may happen, let us never again say there is nothing to be done when our children our dying – and we could have stopped it.
In the name of Jesus Christ we ask it, Amen
Robert Johnson – Pastor of New Hanover Presbyterian Church