A Conscionable Prayer for an Unconscionable Act

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God of All People, we scream and cry and rage in horror. We sit gape-mouthed in shock, no sound coming out, only breaths of disbelief.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in Orlando—for comfort to show up in shared meals, extended hands, and joint tears. For space to cry, for safety to express fears, for a surrounding of community, hands locked in solidarity.

We pray for the candles of vigils to light up the dark of the night, and we pray for the love of your people to light up the dark of the world.

Give us courage to say, “I’m scared, too.” Give us boldness to say, “I stand with you.”

Give us eyes to see that those men and women could have been ours—our people, our family, our friends. May this fresh sight shut our mouths of political rhetoric and defensive rights-protection. May the only words we can possibly utter be, “Dear God, this is horrible, evil violence against our own, and we condemn it fully.”

May we be silent in the things our fear tells us to shout, and may we be loud in our love and call for justice.

Bleeding God of Life and Death, help us speak up now, finally, in this very moment for the oppressed. May we not be able to sleep until we’ve told our people we love them and realize that there are many who cannot say that anymore.

Give us memory to remember the horror, and may we not forget the senseless evil by trivializing this event down to a battlecry for self-protection.

Dear God, give us empathy. Give us sensitivity. Give us love for another. Tape our mouths shut unless they are crying out in shared lament.

May we see that the hand we are clutching white-knuckled is our brother’s. May we realize that the tears swimming down our cheeks are our sister’s.

May we feel deep in our hearts that we belong to each other, that we are each other’s. May we feel the holy, righteous conviction that there is no other response but “I love you. This was awful, evil violence, and I see it. I cry with you. I stand with you. You are not alone.”

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