The UCC's 5-member Collegium of Officers today (Feb. 28) released a pastoral prayer in response to the tragic shooting of five high school students at Chardon (Ohio) High School, near Cleveland.
Three of the five teens injured in the Feb. 27 incident have died. A sixth teen, the suspected gunman, is in custody awaiting arraignment, said Chardon police.
Here is the complete text to the pastoral prayer released by the UCC’s Collegium of Officers:
"With heavy hearts, we join with Greater Cleveland, our nation and global neighbors in our concern for those impacted by the shootings at Chardon High School on Feb. 27. May your healing presence be felt in lives broken by violence and weary with grief. Console with your abiding love each student, parent, and community member, and guide those with the responsibility of counseling them in this difficult time. Be especially with the families of those whose lives ended so abruptly as they struggle to make sense of their losses.
"In this season of Lent, this devastating news reminds us of the many ways we fall short of your vision of shalom, even as we strive to follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We live in a culture saturated with subtle and overt forms of violence, and this tragedy is yet another sign of what it is doing to our children and our communities.
"Gracious one, be with us as we contemplate this news and look for ways to support the people of Chardon. Challenge us to take inventory of our own hearts, looking into how well our own lives bear witness to the peace and the justice you envision for this world. Grant in our living a humble mindfulness of your way, modeled in Christ, that in our daily lives we would reckon with your wisdom and choose it over the way of the world.
"Guide our efforts to bear witness to your resurrection ways in Good Friday moments such as this."