Delivered by Rev. Randy Lewis on May 26, 2022, at Morning Star Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the vigil for the victims of gun violence.
Oh God, I have no flattering words to remind you of Your mercy, Your love, or Your holiness. I struggle to fix my mouth to form the words that would beseech your grace and intervention in our lives.
How do we make sense of the senseless violence that has overcome us?
How do I pray for the healing of the families touched by tragedy, when it is anger that they must feel, along with their grief? It feels wrong to pray that you would give them forgiving spirits when they’re left devastated, and when justice goes unfinished.
How do I ask you to stir us to acts of love, kindness, and respect, when many in our nation are set on inaction, indifference, or even hate?
How do we plead with you to move in the hearts of humanity, when the shedding of innocent blood, our children’s dying, isn’t enough to move us to a unified action?
How can we offer our thoughts and prayers when the powerlessness and emptiness of those words are exposed by our apathy and disregard?
How do we ask you, when you have already given us plenty to demonstrate your love to others, to protect the poor, the vulnerable, and the disenfranchised, and to make the world a more just and equitable place?
What are we to do when not enough of us are moved by the suffering to help change hearts and minds, laws and systems?
How do we ask of you to restore our nation, and other nations of the earth, and the earth itself with all its inhabitants, when we already know the way to our healing, when the issues that plague us are well within our power to resolve?
Give us the courage and fortitude to do what is in our power to do. May we work toward the greater good, being always mindful of how our actions, or inaction, affect others. Deepen our resolve.
Holy Spirit, with what you have given us, we will lift the brokenhearted, set the captives free, honor the stranger among us, lift our voices for the voiceless; we will resist the way of the gun and choose peace. We will be a comforting and compassionate presence for those who suffer.
Oh Lord, make us aware, and may this awareness stir in us a sense of responsibility for one another, for this planet – our shared home – and for our common destiny.
May it be so. Amen.