The Rev. Matthew Crebbin is Senior Minister of the Newtown Congregaitonal Church, UCC in Newtown, CT
First...DO PRAY...I know that many within and beyond the faith community will say that thoughts and prayers are not enough and this is true. But prayer will be needed for the journey ahead. It’s been nearly five years since the horror at Sandy Hook School and I would not have come this far without prayer. If you cannot find any coherent thoughts that you can put together, then pray with “sighs too deep for human words”. Those of us who have been affected by gun violence often cannot find any words in moments like this – so there is lots of sighing and silence…lots of silence. And then out of the silence…pray:
Pray your sorrow, your anger, your hopelessness. Pray your faith and your doubt.
Pray for the murdered, the injured, the traumatized - each one a unique and precious treasure.
Pray for families and communities forever altered.
Pray for individuals and families in other places who in this moment are being re-traumatized.
Pray for all those around our world who are targets of violence because their beauty as a child of God does not fit somebody else's definition of what is righteous or pure or worthy of sacred care.
Pray for all of us who by intent or apathy continue to allow our nation to worship at the altar of the gun – and for those who believe that innocence must forever be offered on that altar for the sake of freedom.
Pray for those who will only offer prayers and nothing else. Pray for those who say it is too soon to talk about solutions and who will always find reasons to avoid the conversation.
Pray for all of us that we might refuse to become further isolated from those with whom we disagree – and choose to live only in theological and political camps that feel safe and reassuring.
Pray for those who think they know all the reasons that things like this happens - and who will soon return to a cocoon of self-righteous certainty.
Pray for those who will become even more captive to the way of fear - and only end up further down the path of death and brokenness.
Pray for shalom...for peace and well-being for everyone - including even those who commit unspeakable acts of violence.
Pray for yourself – that you might not be overwhelmed by “disaster fatigue” even while you remember that you are not called to offer yourself on the altar of the good – by trying to do so much that you destroy the sacredness of your own life and relationships.
Pray...and even as you are praying...commit yourself to be a part of the transformation. And then, prayerfully choose one specific thing that you will do today to reduce gun violence and create just a little more peace on this planet.
Pray ...and in your praying become a living and breathing prayer that this broken and grieving world so desperately needs.
*Adapted from previous thoughts by Rev Crebbin on this topic.
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