Outlook editor Jill Duffield, who lives in Charlottesville, wrote this prayer after participating, along with other clergy, in a call for love, not hate, in her city. Congregations are free to use this prayer in worship.
Sweet Jesus, what has happened to your beloved world? What darkness is on the loose when those who hate their neighbors pray in your name and ask for your blessing?
You have told us, O Lord, what is good: to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with you, and yet there are those among us who wield machine guns to intimidate and chant vitriolic rhetoric to terrorize, and ram cars intentionally into crowds to kill.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
We have no hope save in you. We have no hope to stop the violence and stem the racism and cease the destruction, save in you. Save us now.
Prince of peace, you tell us to pray for those who persecute us and love our enemies, but right now, in this moment, those prayers are not readily on our lips. Help us. Intercede for us.
May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you even if, in this moment, they are colored with anger and weariness and questions about your presence during the storm.
What next, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, when we are right in the middle of the chaos and the killing and the carnage? We know that justice will roll down like water and that crying and death will be no more someday, but we need to know what to do this very day.
This very day you have made. Creator God, Living God, God of the new thing, the very good thing, show us where to be and what do to and how to be the light and the salt and the leaven and the love you call us to be.
Precious Lord, take our hands, lead us home to the place you prepared for us and give us rest. Put us beside still waters and overflow our cups with grace upon grace until it spills into the streets and washes away the evil in our land. Wash us and we will be clean. Made new. Clothed and in our right minds. Together.
All powerful and promise keeping God, make it so. Sweet Jesus, make us so.