Prayer for After Another School Shooting
[This prayer is based on one I delivered in 2009 for the mass shooting in Binghamton, NY where I live. It pains me to point out that with a simple alteration of the first paragraph’s details, the prayer is suitable for other mass shootings as well.]
May 20, 2018
We are broken, O God. We are broken. We gather in vigil again to mourn the death of school children and school teachers. On Friday, a young man entered the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, killed 10 people, physically injured 10 others, and spiritually shattered countless lives in that community and across the country.
Death and violence are the reasons that draw us together in sorrow, in anger, in anxious grief and loss. Each of us has been touched by this or another recent shooting, some in a small way, others in overwhelming ways. We gather together now to declare our allegiance to something stronger than violence and anger and even death. O God we are broken, we long for healing and for hope.
Eternal Spirit, Loving God, Gracious One: we call on you in different ways and with different names, yet each in our own way – we call. We pray for strength; we pray for healing. We pray for the victims of violence. We pray for the perpetrators of violence. We pray for our community broken open in sorrow. We pray for our leaders, for our first responders, and for the families and friends who must live with this into the next day and the next. We pray for the peacemakers and the healers. We pray for the teachers. We pray for all those who seek a better way.
Grant us the courage to reject vengeance. Grant us the courage to choose to heal what is broken and to redeem what cannot be healed, and to rebuild ourselves as a community of strength and hope. Grant that we will be known not by our loss or by the violence of a moment, but rather by our loving response. This I pray in the name of all that is holy, may it be so. Blessed be and amen.