Pastoral Prayer after Another Mass Shooting

How good it feels to come to you in time of need, O God.
We thank you for assuring us that you are in control,
even in times of natural disaster.
When the wind blows and the earth shakes and the waters rise,
your power is on display,
the forces of nature are creating a new thing,
and even when all around is devastation,
yet our faith in you remains firm.

When sickness strikes, when disease ravages,
and when doctors are powerless, we know that you are there;
that the Suffering Servant suffers with us;
that your Spirit of healing is at work
even when all hope is lost.

But when the sickness is the sickness of a nation’s soul,
when the disaster is unnatural,
when the responsibility is ours,
to whom can we turn?
When our thoughts are of violence and our prayers are selfish,
dare we approach your throne with our entreaties for peace?
When we place our passion for weaponry
above our love for our children,
what can we say to you?

So speak to us, God.
Drown out all other voices but yours.
Let your creating word descend upon us,
and may it not return to you empty.
Convert us, O God,
from worship of the passing values of the world
to an affirmation that your ways are not our ways,
and that we need not fear vulnerability
when you are our refuge and our strength,
a very present help in trouble.

And we are in trouble, O God.
Help us, for we refuse to help ourselves.
Alone we are weak,
and together we feed off one another’s fear
and stoke the fires of anger.
Help us to move beyond feeling helpless in the face of fear and wrath.
Give us the words to speak,
help us to stand up to cowardly politics,
remind us that the power of money
cannot resist against your power.
Sweep through us and among us with fresh winds of your Spirit,
and help us create change
when the new thing that we know should be possible
still seems impossible.

All this we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior,
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns
as one God both now and forever. Amen.