A Lament for Victims of Gun Violence

Merciful God,

Hear our prayers in this hour for the victims of gun violence, the women, men, and children whose lives are shattered–even ended–by a bullet fired from a pistol or a rifle, a shotgun or some semiautomatic weapon; a gun bought legally or acquired through criminal means; a gun fired by an enemy or a stranger, in plain sight or in hiding, accidentally or on purpose. In the injury and death that guns visit upon victims, O God, we pray for your comfort and strength.

Comfort we would seek, too, for the ones who escape, those victims who endure the terror and the trauma of gunfire and live to tell about it, many whose job it is to protect and to rescue others. In their troubled sleep and their shattered nerves; in their pained questioning; in their testimony, O God, be present, so that the rupture introduced by a gun may be fused and their life restored.

Finally, Compassionate One, we pray for those who have lost a friend, a co-worker, a parent, a spouse–any friend and any relative–to the violence of guns. Be near to them in their grief; guide the anger of loss to life-giving and life-restoring ends; overcome despair with hope and numbness with action, not just for those who grieve, but for all of us who lament yet one more outburst of gun terror, feeling helpless, feeling devastated, feeling afraid.

God, help us.

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