‘End the cycle of violence,’ UCC officers pray after deaths in Texas school shooting
The three national officers of the United Church of Christ issued a prayer of grief after a gunman killed at least 19 children May 24 at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex. News reports said the death toll also included two adults. The 18-year-old attacker was killed by a law enforcement officer. Uvalde, with some 16,000 residents, is about 85 miles west of San Antonio and 75 miles from the border with Mexico. Here is the text of the prayer.
In utter and irrepressible grief we offer these words, giving collective voice to the anguish we all feel.
God, hear our prayer:
For the fourteen children now dead;
For the teacher now dead;
For the parents, family, and friends who will spend the rest of their lives aching every night from the weight of this;
For a schoolhouse rendered trauma-laden and grief-stricken in a matter of minutes, whose students will suffer PTSD in the wake of this tragedy;
For the caregivers in Uvalde now burdened with the task of managing the shared and collective grief of a traumatized community who love their children;
For those who feel the new burden of useless guilt in the aftermath of this, wondering what else they could have done to prevent this;
For the nation, so in love with our weapons that we continue to tolerate these mass shootings and the grief they inflict without ever building the collective will needed to address it fully;
For the world, suffering a massive and collective grief of its own and witnessing acts of cruelty daily too numerous to fully process.
Heal our gaping wounds.
Restore our sense of compassion.
Quiet the restlessness within us.
Settle the building righteous anger.
Quicken the desire for peace.
Remove the chasm that sees race and religion and political persuasion as the marks of a person’s worth and value.
End the cycle of violence that begets more violence.
Silence the voices that broker in fear and division and create the hatred we see mounting everywhere between us.
Quiet the troubled soul thinking of grabbing the next gun and ending innocent lives.
Empower us all to act now, refusing to wait for the next horror show before we change the laws that make guns and their discharge so accessible.
Turn anguish to action; our rage to restoration; our hatred to love; our grief to hope.
Let it never happen again. Ever. How much more can we bear, O Lord? How much more can we endure.
Be our rock of refuge.
Be our light of inspiration.
Be our beacon of hope.
Be the arms of love that hold us until the pain recedes.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ: The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer General Minister and President The Rev. Traci Blackmon The Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson Associate General Ministers
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