(We observed a moment of silence to remember the victims and their families; I then prayed the following prayer.)
Once again we have been confronted with the horror of the killing and wounding of a large number of people, this time in Aurora, Colorado. As we ponder the numbers—12 killed and 59 wounded—help us to remember that each one of those numbers represents a person whose death or injury has left their family and friends grief-stricken and in turmoil.
Lord, have mercy on those families.
Christ, have mercy on that community.
Lord, have mercy on us.
We pray for the one who carried out these murders. We ask for him the related miracles of healing and forgiveness that come only by your grace. We pray that the kind of darkness that overcame his soul will never overcome ours.
This tragedy, like all such tragedies, causes us to ask hard and challenging questions. Help us, O God, not to hide from confronting questions that we need to confront. We readily acknowledge the sin and sickness that are present in one who would carry out such an act. Is there also sin and sickness in our nation, in our culture, in our mindset, in our priorities, in our communities and even in our churches that help to contribute to such an event?
Is there something in our hearts? Is there something in my heart?
If our asking of such questions and if our seeking of your Spirit lead us to conclusions that challenge and trouble us, help us to deal with those conclusions honestly and courageously.
On your grace and on your grace alone can we rely in this time and in all times.
Thank you for hearing our prayers.
Thank you for seeing our hearts.
Thank you for healing our hurts.
Thank you for forgiving our sins.