Another city. Another tragedy. Another illusion of safety shattered by bullets falling from the sky. We look to point fingers. We want our illusion back. Give us our illusion that nothing bad can happen in our country. Give our false sense of security back. The truth is we are not and cannot be in control of every person, weapon, mental condition or circumstance. We can enact laws or not, we can tag certain people as dangerous or not, we can keep people locked up or not. It doesn’t matter how we try to stop these things from happening, and maybe we should do all those things, but tragedy will still happen. It isn’t the men themselves, it is the heart of men that has been shattered and broken beyond repair. The heart is where the brokenness is and the only way to change things is from the inside out.
In the meantime, we grieve with families who are changed forever because a few minutes of broken heartedness spilled onto the streets. We weep with those who weep. We console them and try to wipe the tears that continue to fall. We hold space for them to feel their sorrow and to fall into the arms of those who comfort them with no agenda, because when death steals someone precious from you, the weeping comes first. The disbelief of what happened is mindboggling. The tears are important because they release the grief into a physical form. Let’s cry, shall we? Let’s release the pain that is built up in our midst. Let’s fall on our faces and weep with these families. Let’s uplift them in prayer. Let’s hold their hands and allow them to bury their faces in our shoulders as their tears flow. Let’s stop bickering and be there for them in their time of need. They have experienced trauma and loss in epic proportions that the majority of us cannot comprehend. They have been violated, and therefore so have we. Let’s go to them and stand with them as they bury their loved ones. There are no words that can bring them back from this horror, so let’s silently express our love as we hold them closely in our hearts.
We ask for you to surround these families and all those involved in this horrific event. We don’t understand the enormity of this situation. In this moment, we don’t try to. We simply ask for peace for the broken hearts. We know you draw near to the broken hearted and we thank you for that promise. We know your heart is broken too. We feel your grief, and we share our tears with you as liquid prayers. We cry out to you. We are at a loss for words, and so we simply say, help us. We are lost and we say, find us. We are wandering in this world and we say bring us home into your arms. We cry out for rescue from this pain we are living in. I ask you to make your love known to these families and to this city. We look for your hands and feet, because we know you are always there in the form of caring and loving people. Give us your grace to get through this. Empower the people to love one another well in the time of grief. I pray for the days and months ahead when the hole in families becomes gaping, you fill it. You comfort them, like a blanket. You restore their hope. Bring them out of the pit of despair and into the place of your grace and mercy. Show their tender hearts how to heal. You lost a son, so you know the pain they face ahead. Surround them with support from others. Give them your peace that passes understanding. Walk closely with them…carry them if necessary. Help us to love them well, as you love them. In Jesus name, Amen.