The National Officers of the United Church of Christ issued this reflection and prayer in response to the elementary school shooting in Connecticut which resulted in the deaths of 27 people, the majority of which were children under 10 years old.
Reflection from Amistad Chapel:
This afternoon, we gathered in the Amistad Chapel to pray, to share our grief and our frustration. We gathered to lament the loss of life that has taken place today in Newtown Connecticut. This loss of innocent lives is a national tragedy. It took place in Connecticut, but it affects the whole country. Of course, we identify with the people of Connecticut closely. We grieve for the children who died, for the teachers and administrators who died, for their families and their schoolmates. Our prayers are with them today, and in the coming days and weeks.
As we grieve we are aware that this kind of tragedy happens over and over again in this country where for some the gun has become God. We must renew our efforts to control guns and thereby prevent violent tragedies such as this. We must learn how to place our trust in God, not in arms. We must turn swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.
Loving God, our hearts are broken as we take in the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown. Tears flow as we see the pictures of young children, teachers and parents fleeing a scene of terror and fear, and as we hear the shaken voices of those who escaped. But mostly, Holy One, we are simply stunned that this kind of violence has once again erupted in our nation. We lift our prayers to you now, prayers that your comfort will surround the families of those children and teachers who lost their lives, and prayers for the community of Newtown. We pray for the hope brought afresh to us by the birth of the Prince of Peace this time of year. May it be born in us and infuse all of our relationships. May your hope and peace touch this world as never before. May your love crowd out our despair and feelings of helplessness. May the star which rested over that manger light the way we take as peacemakers. In the name of the One who is to be born we pray. Amen.
The Collegium of Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President
W. Mark Clark
Associate General Minister
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Minister, Local Church Ministries
The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo
Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos
Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries