PRAYER FOR THE NATION GRIEVING THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MURDERS IN NEWTON, CT
O Lord Our God, how we praise you as Author of Life for loving and accepting unconditionally all whom you have created. As a nation, we mourn the mounting human tragedies that were set in motion nearly 14 years ago with the 1999 Columbine, Colorado high school massacre. The recently killing of 20 six and seven year olds, and six adults at a Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has seared our nation's heart as we cry for these our children and members of our American family. The sheer magnitude of our babies shot down at the starting gate of their young lives wounds us deeply O God, so we turn to you for comfort and strength to make sense of it all.
In the escalation of mass murders--from a Ft. Hood, Texas Army base, to a Virginia Tech college campus, to an Arizona supermarket congressional greeting, to a crowded Aurora, Colorado theater, to an Oregon mall of Christmas shoppers--we mourn and cry out to you for answers to our "why" questions, we can find no where else? From the depths of our sorrow, we seek the wisdom and courage to address with clear and open minds the right kind of gun control and mental health reforms these acts of senseless violence signal.
O Lord, Our God, help us today to embrace your command to "love you and every neighbor as we love ourselves", especially the often hard to understand neighbors who withdraws to dark places that seem beyond our reach. Through our tears and pain we remember and thank you for sending your beloved Son Jesus to earth to "bear our grief and carry our sorrows" for children taken too soon and much too brutally from our midst. Remind us today that children of every race and background are to be embraced as all of our children, as we remember to express our love more often and hug more tightly the children in our own families. We pray your comfort and strength for the journey of grief, anger, and forgiveness the families of the victims and perpetrators must endure as we hold them close in our hearts and continued prayers. We rest now in the blessed assurance of your promises that you, O God, "will be with us through troubles" and will "never leave or forsake us." In the matchless and magnificent name of the One whose name is above every name, we pray. Amen.