in the oppressive darkness

Our God,

Our hearts are weary.

In the first fourteen school days of this calendar year,
there have been at least seven school shootings.
Sparks Middle School in Nevada
Berrendo Middle School in New Mexico,
Delaware Valley Charter High School,
Widener University near Philadelphia,
South Carolina State and Purdue,
the most recent additions to this terrible list.

There’s been the shooting in the grocery store in Elkhart, Indiana,
the shooting at the mall in Columbia, Maryland,
not to mention in homes and on streets across the country.

And yes, we live in a culture
in which guns are too accessible,
in which personal freedom is valued at the expense of public safety,
and in which people don’t care enough about the problem
to work for a viable solution,

but we also live in a culture—
in which appropriate expressions of anger
are not modeled and taught,
in which violence is enshrined in our entertainment,
in which hope seems a weak possibility,
and grace and forgiveness are for wimps
while fear and anger ever simmer just below the surface,
in which conversation is just for those
who don’t truly know what they believe.
We live in a culture that fosters
the ideas of independence and self-sufficiency
to idolatrous degree.

The people who sit in darkness—
who feel the darkness pressing in,
turn to You, longing for a dawning light.
We turn to You, expectant—
expecting You to be working in our world,
and expecting You to guide
and inspire and sustain us in our working—
to bring the kingdom of heaven nearer,
that Your will might be done on earth as it is in heaven—
which is as much a matter of our being as our praying.
This we pray, in the name of the one who was and is,
amen.

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