by the Rev. Laurie Ann Kraus, Associate Mission Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Once again, Holy One, we cry, how long, O Lord?
We wonder, when will it be enough?
We pray you will forgive our society which tolerates violence,
Our fearful xenophobia, and our willingness to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to words and deeds of intolerance aimed at those “others” we fear are not like us.
The same lifeblood—the gift of a loving God—flows through all our veins, and spills out without regard to difference, staining the floors our places of fellowship, community, and learning.
staining our lives with sorrow, fear and regret.
Let the same heart beat as one among us, that we will draw together across these false divides,
And rise up as one to breathe peace where there is no peace,
and heal our communities and our world.
God of life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
As the sound of gunfire echoes across Orlando
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, enjoying an evening of music and friendship,
Whose lives were ended or maimed in a hail of hatred and gunfire
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 bring healing and hope in the face of the unchecked principalities and powers of violence.
God of the rainbow, once long ago, you stretched your light across the heavens to renew your covenant of peace with your people, you promised not to destroy.
Help us in these days to believe that promise, and to participate in it, and to treasure the life which it treasures.
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 hold sway over our common life.
In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen.