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PC(USA) offers prayers for Baghdad bombing victims

ISIS claims responsibility for attacks that kill 131, injure more than 200

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

People survey the damage following a deadly bombing in Baghdad's Karada market.

People survey the damage following a deadly bombing in Baghdad’s Karada market.

LOUISVILLE – The Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, coordinator for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, offered prayers for those killed and injured in a massive car bombing that rocked the busy Karada market in central Baghdad yesterday. The blast occurred after sundown as young people and families filled the streets, breaking their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. A separate attack in the al-Shaab neighborhood killed five people and wounded 16.

The bombings come on the heels of an attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in which 42 people were killed and 239 wounded. Although ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the Ataturk attack, officials believe the terror group planned and executed the violence.

In solidarity with the indiscriminate nature of these attacks, Kraus wrote, “God help us. Help us not to give up. Help us to care even more deeply. Help us to remember that Baghdad is just around every corner.”

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A Prayer After the Bombing in the Karada Marketplace in Baghdad
July 3, 2016

Lord, we will lift our eyes to the hills,
Knowing our help is coming from you…

But how, Lord? But when?

They were doing Saturday things, God.
Fruit and vegetables in the marketplace
the warm smell of fresh baked bread
Women embracing, exchanging their news of the ordinary
Men in quiet conversations
Children shrieking in laughter, dodging the stalls and the vendors,
Chasing a ball, a puppy, a friend.

And then, Holy One, another truck rumbles through another marketplace
Another week, another world ends
Children shrieking, this time in terror, in pain.
Women embracing, in horror, in grief.
Men, helpless to stop the suffering.

God help us.
Help us not to give up
Help us to care even more deeply
Help us to remember that Baghdad is just around every corner

You are the source of our strength
You are the strength of our life—

Make our hands, your hands of healing, of welcome, of relief
Make our hearts beat as one with the neighbors we have never seen
Lift us above our petty preoccupation with differences,
Our careful clinging to our illusions and our privilege
Break our hearts and remake us as one in your image.
God help us.
Amen.

Note:
The italicized lines are from the song “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood.
The text at the beginning is Psalm 121 


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