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Praying for the Children

December 16, 2012

In worship today with my congregation we spent some time listening to the words of scripture and then to each other in conversation. Which is not unusual: we do this often and enjoy these practices. But today was of course very different, as this day we came together following the terrible tragedy of the Connecticut school shooting. We came with thoughts of shock, grief, fear, confusion, loss. So for the Third Sunday in Advent (instead of the regular lectionary texts) we went to the Psalms and asked questions about God and ourselves. I don’t know that we found any definite answers. Perhaps there was a reminder of the unsettling paradox that is part of our Advent worship theme-comfort sharing space with disturbance. Reality check: sometimes that disturbance is so damn difficult to bear. There was also hope of God coming and being present, sharing in the struggle and birthing something new. And for today that is what we will have to hold onto.

In our worship time I shared the following prayer, as one small way to help work through our thoughts and feelings following these tragic events. It is titled “A Prayer for All Children.”

O Jesus, who gathered children in your lap:

Today we pray

for the children of our church,

the children of our city,

the children of our world.

May they live

without fear of guns and bombs,

without hunger for food or hunger for love,

without the shadow of violence.

May each day bring them

enough hugs for a smile,

enough friends for security,

enough adults for guidance,

enough love for faith to grow.

Empower us to work with you

to shape a world of justice

for all your children. Amen.

 

From Words for Worship 2, edited by Diane Zaerr Brenneman, 2009 by Herald Press, Scottsdale, PA.

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