Dear God, we come to you as we always do. We come to you when we have many words and when we have few words, and even when we have no words. We come to you because you are our rock and our fortress, the One in whom we trust.
Dear God, our hearts are broken. We mourn because nine lives were cut short in a vicious, cruel, and hateful way, in your house at Mother Emmanuel. We mourn with their loved ones. We mourn for the void their lives have left in their homes, their church, and society. We mourn because we all have lost.
Our grief is deeper, dear Lord, for we realize that Roof’s actions were not isolated. Even though it seems that he acted alone, he was a participant in a larger narrative that fueled his actions. We are saddened, dear Lord, as we are confronted with hatred. It is an underlying hatred that is barely concealed, often found on blogs and comments. Yet, many would deny it. We grieve dear Lord, for the hatred that is so endemic and so dangerous.
Yet, dear God, we will not lose our hope in you. We will not give in to the forces of evil by cowering or repaying evil with evil. We will stand for truth and righteousness, for equality and justice, for the dignity of all. We will follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ even to forgiveness in the face of violence.
Dear God, we thank you for the witness of our brothers and sisters in Charleston as they have lived out their faith before, during, and after the tragic massacre. We pray for your strength for them in the days ahead. We pray for Roof and all like him, that they would open their hearts to your love and move past bigotry and hatred.
This was an unwitting sacrifice in Charleston. May it not be in vain but may it be an occasion for people who have been in denial to face the reality of racism as it adversely affects the African American community and other minority groups, and move toward healing. May it be an opportunity for us all to live with each other in honesty and mutual respect.
Forgive us, dear Lord, if we have been complicit in any way. In this time of grief, teach us to love with your love. Grant us your grace and peace we pray. Grant us your wisdom and your courage.
Experiencing the shift to clarity and peace through honest, surrendered, whole whole-hearted praying.
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