By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 6/28/2015

In the host of responses to last week’s tragedy, I was struck by this liturgy used by so many congregations this week. May it be our prayer.
We stand before you today, oh Lord
Hearts broken, eyes weeping, heads spinning
Our brothers and sisters have died
They gathered and prayed and then were no more
The prayer soaked walls of the church are spattered with blood
The enemy at the table turned on them in violence
While they were turning to you in prayer
We stand with our sisters
We stand with our brothers
We stand with their families
We stand to bear their burden in Jesus’ name
We cry out to you, oh Lord
Our hearts breaking, eyes weeping, heads spinning
The violence in our streets has come into your house
The hatred in our cities has crept into your sanctuary
The brokenness in our lives has broken into your temple
The dividing wall of hostility has crushed our brothers and sisters
We cry out to you, May your Kingdom come, may it be on earth as it
is in heaven
We cry out for our sisters
We cry out for our brothers
We cry out for their families
We cry out for peace in Jesus’ name
We pray to you today, oh Lord
Our hearts breaking, eyes weeping, souls stirring
We pray for our enemies, we pray for those who persecute us
We pray to the God of all Comfort to comfort
our brothers and sisters in their mourning
We pray that you would bestow on them
a crown of beauty instead of ashes
We pray that you would give them the oil of joy
instead of mourning
We pray that you would give them a garment of praise
in place of a spirit of despair
We pray for our sisters
We pray for our brothers
We pray for their families
We pray for their comfort in Jesus’ name
We declare together, oh Lord
With hearts breaking, eyes weeping and souls stirring
We will continue to stand and cry and weep
with our brothers and sisters
We will continue to make a place of peace
for even the enemies at our table
We will continue to open our doors and our hearts
to those who enter them
We will continue to seek to forgive
as we have been forgiven
We will continue to love in Jesus’ name
because you taught us that love conquers all
We declare our love for you, our Sisters
We declare our love for you, our Brothers
We declare our love for you, their families
We declare our love as one body, one Lord,
one faith, one baptism
We declare they do not grieve alone.