God of our weary years and our silent tears,
We are shattered by the deaths of 49 Muslim neighbors in New Zealand,
cut down in the midst of Friday prayers.
We are horrified, angry, despairing
We struggle with a knowledge that our prayers alone are not enough
our silence in the face of intolerance and fear is complicity
a fear that we do not know a way forward that will help
an emptiness: we have been here before, too many times,
and we know we will walk this bloodied path again.
What can we do, with such fear and anger and longing,
that can bind us together,
rather than further tear apart the fabric of our common life?
We are failing one another, and we are failing You, O Maker of the Universe:
our Mercy, our Justice, our Peace.
We pray for our neighbors in Christchurch
and for our whole broken and heartbroken world
in this hard season of violence, death and extremism
each one lost is a child made in Your image.
each survivor is beloved to You
each afflicted community is part of your commonwealth.
We lift our prayers for each life lost, each family bereaved,
The worshiping communities whose fabric has been violently torn asunder
by bullets and hatred and fear.
We pray for ourselves, that this wounding, this outrage,
will not fade from our minds before our hearts are broken open
by Your passion for mercy, justice, and love.
Make us ceaseless in our resistance to xenophobia, intolerance, and fear.
May the knowledge of your divine image, given to every living being,
warm hearts that have grown cold,
and invigorate our desire to embrace our differences
and celebrate our belonging in the whole human family.
Make the waters of our tears nourish the river that flows through the city of God,
and the tree of life that is for the healing of the nations.
In the name of the God who is One, we pray. Amen.
–the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, PC(USA)