"Lord of Mercy, hear our prayer for the parents, siblings, school mates, teachers, administrators of those killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. May they find some comfort in your Spirit's presence and in the arms of one another. Ease their trauma and shock over this terrible tragedy. And we pray for the gunman, that you would lead him to repentance. Grant us your peace and resolve to do something finally to curb this violence for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen."
~from the Facebook wall feed of the Albany Presbytery in the wake of the Ash Wednesday school shooting.
Yesterday was the first day of Lent, a time of fasting and contemplation, a season where we silence distractors in our lives in order to draw closer with God. Yesterday, this nation once again witnessed school tragedy.
We will never learn a satisfactory reason behind the senseless violence; the best theories in the world remain speculation. Through God's grace and healing love, we can listen to the fears surrounding assault violence. As we listen to God and one another, work together to keep the children of this nation safe.
My prayer for Lent is this: Gracious and merciful God, you granted us stewardship of your creation and all that therein resides: plants, animals, people, dusty earth. Guide our hearts, hands, and minds that we may work together to protect your children. Do not let us shake off the ashes of tragedy so soon that we forget that renewal takes time and care and attention. Lord, makes us all instruments of your peace. Where the projectiles of hate and anger fly, let us cast shields and nets of love. Give us the strength to combat the evils of greed and selfishness that have taken root. Fill us with your light that we may illumine the dark places in the world and in our souls. Let our hands bring your healing to the wounds of the world, and our hearts bring comfort to the grieving. Guide us through this Lent and bring us to the Easter Resurrection with greater understanding of your call for us in your creation. Amen