A prayer beyond “thoughts and prayers”

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Holy One,

Your children cry out to you,
in anger,
in fear,
in frustration,
in terror,
as we face, together, more gun violence in our country.

For everyone killed in the senseless violence yesterday,
May their families be comforted in the face of overwhelming grief,
Lord, hear our prayer.

For everyone wounded and in shock,
May Your Presence overwhelm their unbearable fear,
and comfort those in pain.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who are retraumatized and saturated with their anxiety
and real terror as they relive horrible events in their past,
may they be surrounded by friends and family who bring Your hope and peace.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For politicians who have cared more about contributions than human lives,
May your righteousness weigh heavily on their hearts,
and may they hear your Call to service, not only to re-election.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews,
who deserve a childhood without mass shootings
and face fear in their classrooms,
May you shelter them and reassurance them by your Presence,
and bring caring adults around them for support.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For Your Church, Lord,
for we have turned our eyes away,
or offered half-hearted thoughts and prayers,
May we stand up to those who preach freedom over faith.
May we declare that all persons are valuable and deserving of protection.
May we minister Christ’s justice, peace, and reconciliation.
May we vote our convictions and listen to Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

AMEN.


(c) 2019 Rev. Deborah Vaughn. You are welcome to use this prayer with attribution. SDG

Make. It. Stop.

This was written on the one year anniversary of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. (See the original post…)

It is, sadly, appropriate for today. Three long years after Newtown, things haven’t changed much.

Lord, have mercy.

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“O God,
Make it stop!”

Cry the daughters and mothers
As their sons and brothers
Lie in the street
Blood on their feet

“Not my baby!
Not my child!
Not mine, not mine!”

And someone says
“We have the right to bear arms!”

And there is
Silence.

All turn and stare as the cold hard words
Clip their hopes
Once more…

“O God,
Make it stop!”

Cry the brothers and fathers
As their mothers and daughters
Are crumpled in bed
Shot in the head

“Not my baby!
Not my lover!
Not mine, not mine!”

And someone says
“We must stand our ground!”

And there is
Weeping.

As they walk away,
as they give up hope
No peace, no promise
No more
No way…

O God,
Make it stop
May there be
a night without gunshots

A day without a brokenhearted family’s tears.

Make it stop
May it be
Bring your peace
Help us, Lord…
Amen

Antietam

This was written after taking a walking tour of Antietam in February. It is a sobering, thought-provoking place and it took me a while to process it…

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We walked along the fences
the ones that bordered the fields of Antietam
where pride and power and rights and sin
killed 23,000 in a day.

The way is rough
The fences line the roads they marched
The fields they defended
The farms that were overrun
The church that became a hospital.

The story shocks and hurts my heart
And yet, so does the front page
Bearing news of wars and armed conflict,
school shootings and gang violence.

We have not changed so very much,
for all of our technology.
Now as then, the fenceposts tell a story,
for violence leaves an uncertain shadow,
hurting a country and a culture and a world.

We are not unlike those who heard Jesus say…

“When you hear of wars
and reports of wars,
don’t be alarmed…” (Mark 13:7a)

I hold an unsteady hope in my heart,
longing for justice,
praying for courage,
and asking God for Peace.


Maranatha