Yesterday an interfaith worship service was held in Boston to begin the process of healing across our nation in the aftermath of the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon. That service will have been one of many held in houses of worship since that tragic day. The prayers of the faithful of many religions will undoubtedly be offered this coming week. In that spirit I offer the following, from the Christian tradition:
O Thou who abhors the death and maiming of the innocents, whether children in Newtown, adults in Benghazi, parents in Kabul, Kandahar or Mumbai, or unsuspecting runners and supporters at a sun-splashed marathon in Boston, we come before Thee confessing that without Thee there is no place to turn.
Thou art the one who holds the keys to life, who hast given to Jesus our Lord all power and honor and glory. Thou art the one who suffers and grieves with us. We bring our anger, shock, grief and deep sadness to Thee, seeking Thy mercy and grace. We yearn, O Lord of Every Nation, for that day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, when the nations of the world will stream to Thy holy mountain, studying war no more, when each family on earth will live in harmony with Thee and one another.
Bring that day to pass, O living Lord! Accomplish that day when justice shall flow down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. Establish that day when bombs — nuclear and pressure cooker variety — will only be displayed in museums, when sons and daughters will no longer march off to war, when bullets and bayonets will be replaced by baby buggies and bread for all. And even as we see the speck of sawdust in our enemy’s eye, give us the humility to identify — by Thy severe justice — the log in our own eye, too.
Banish from the midst of humankind the propensity to make war, to wound and kill civilians, to terrorize one another, to believe that might can ultimately make right. Touch heart and soul that our world might be cured of its warring madness.
We thank Thee, O Lord, for first responders, trained and volunteer, for emergency rooms and surgeons and nurses committed to save life. We thank Thee that so few died in this recent attack and pray your deepest consolation for those who suffered ghastly injuries and the death of family members.
Remind us that Thy divine image lives within each of us and help us to claim that identify for ourselves even as we seek it in those whom we call enemy.
Most of all, O Good and Loving Lord, we thank Thee for Jesus Christ, shepherd of the flock. May we hear his voice clearly, be led beside the still waters, and learn how — in the face of evil — to practice what it means to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Amen.
Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.