Lord, we pray for the students, school staff and families in Parkland. We pray for their hearts as they grieve and look to You and their community to grieve. We lift up all those who have experienced unspeakable tragedy. May they find safe ways to sleep soundly in coming days, weeks, months and years; may a peace belonging to You, which surpasses human understanding, be their companion as they walk through days echoing unfathomable loss. May the bonds of this school and local community be made stronger by Your close watch as they are stricken with communal grief, and as they over time look to You for healing help. We ask you to wrap Your arms around all those who have wrapped their own arms around their affected children, their students, their family and friends as they shook with shock and horror. We give You thanks for those who shielded kids, those able to usher them to safety, those who grotesquely died in total innocence, for the coach and others that heroically sacrificed themselves in true acts of Love.
Lord, we pray for our reckless amounts of layers of broken systems that allow human beings to fall through the cracks, to become isolated and hateful, to over time be moved to consider abandoning their humanity. We are each responsible for contributing to this brokenness, and for its embetterment. God, may we not mistake a system for something different than the collection of our culture's attitude, actions and inactions. We somberly beseech You forgive us for what we have done, and for what we have left undone.
Oh God who is Love, who can express Love when we cannot see how, we pray for this young man that did the unimaginable, especially after losing both of his parents in the recent past. His monstrous acts will mean he will experience new levels of isolation now in accordance with rightful consequences. We pray for the few that will answer a call from You to express care for him in this aftermath, for this child of God. We pray for the family that took him in after the death of his parents, and for any who did attempt to show up for him in the wake of his losses. May they be comforted.
God, none of our words suffice right now. None of our words are quite "correct," because there are no words that encompass what should so clearly not be. It is beyond us. You, too, stretch beyond us, and we commit to listening to You intently for guidance in the wake of chasms so strikingly expressed in our human experience. Amen.
God, those of us who are Christians look to Jesus' example and sacrificial acts of love as our guidepost. We need Christ today to help us respond to this tragedy with love that allows us to forget ourselves and idols to which we hold fast. May Jesus be a potent reminder of how we treat one another in these days. Again and again, we commit to embody active remembrance of His body and blood, committing to carry this Divine Love with us, to embrace the hard work of Love among us, perhaps especially in unimaginable times. Help us know when this means to be still and when and how it means to move, and please compel us to respond to Your quiet promptings with urgency. Amen.