It happened again today. This was the 45th shooting at a school in 2015, and the 142nd shooting since Sandy Hook. As we – the congregations and members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) – prepare to gather around a wide table this World Communion Sunday and to receive the Peace and Global Witness Offering, may we strengthen our resolve to work to end violence in all its forms. May we reclaim our identity as those who are called “peacemakers,” united with believers worldwide, as we follow the One who is our Peace.
Pray with us.
God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
As the sound of gunfire again echoes over a college campus
we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.
We open our hearts in anger, sorrow and hope:
For those who have been lost: brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends
Your children, who sought to learn and grow together
whose lives have been cut off in the midst of new learning and hopeful growth.
We pray for those who have been spared and those whose lives are changed forever
that they may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the hard days to come.
We give thanks for first responders:
who ran toward gunfire, rather than away
who dropped everything to save the wounded and comfort survivors
We pray for doctors and nurses and mental health providers
Who repair what has been broken
who to try to bring healing and hope in the face of the unchecked principalities and powers of violence .
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering and traumatized.
Once again, Holy One, we cry, how long, O Lord?
We wonder, when will it be enough?
We pray you will forgive our tolerance of cultures of violence and impel us by your Spirit to renew our commitment to work for an end to gun violence in our nation.
In the wake of an event that should be impossible to contemplate
but which has become all too common in our experience,
open our eyes, break our hearts,
and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit,
that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace,
where the lion and the lamb may dwell together,
and terror no longer holds sway over our common life.
In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen.
Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus, Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance