God of loving kindness, why are we, the very people made in your image, so brutal and cruel? The headlines tell of parents torturing their own children for years. Day after day young women and girls share their stories of abuse at the hands of the very one who was to give them healing. Another school, another town, makes the list of those forever marked by gun violence and death. Communities, families, neighborhoods are plunged into grief that remains long after the spotlight moves on to the next tragedy.
How, Lord of love, do we respond to such horrendous suffering? How do we keep from turning away in disgust or helplessness or, Lord forbid it, apathy? Knowing we follow the One who said, “Let the little children come to me,” we ask for the courage not to flinch in the face of evil, but to call it out and stand with those traumatized, victimized and left wounded in its wake.
Trusting that no one and nothing is beyond your power and promise to make whole, we pray for all the children exploited and hurt by those charged with caring for them. Lord, put in their path the very people they need in this moment who will show them their belovedness and walk with them on the long journey of healing.
Remembering that Jesus cast out demons, proclaimed good news and cured all those brought to him, we bring to the throne of grace those so troubled they prey on others. Help us to believe fully in Christ’s ability to transform and forgive in order that we would seek ways to minister to those the world labels God-forsaken or beyond redemption. Send your Spirit to work through us so that the cycle of exploitation and hurt is broken.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, the servant Savior who ate with sinners, washed the disciples’ feet and offered forgiveness even as he hung from the cross, we cry out on behalf of those who most need compassion and care this day. Make of us, Almighty God, faithful imitators of Christ who suffer the little children, seek out the lost, bring good news to those yearning for hope, work tirelessly for justice and pour ourselves out in love for the sake of the world. Amen.
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