Saturday, December 15, 2012

Connecticut Shooting - A Prayer

"When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old
or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

'A voice was heard in Ramah,
  wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
  she refused to be consoled,
because they are no more.'"
   Matthew 2.16-18  

Lord God—We come into your presence bringing with us many things.
We love the lights and the parties and the sheer wonder of this season. And yet—once again—the world intrudes on our Christmas.
We think of those in Connecticut who have lost so much.
They bring to mind all those other shootings.

Help us also to think of all those children in Iraq and Afghanistan and other troubled  places that have known nothing their whole lives except fear and death and destruction.

We also think of all those in this congregation who have lost someone and find Christmas hard and we often wonder will there ever be joy again. And yet, Lord—we remember at your son’s birth Herod killed a multitude of little children and blood ran through their streets, too. There was weeping that first Christmas and there was great fear then too.And yet all this agony and pain and grief did not stop your coming.

Jesus grew up in a hard, hard time. We forget that sometimes.
He did not take away all the pain—we forget that sometime.
But he reached out and touched and wept and grew angry at so much that he saw.
He was one with them. We forget that sometime.

So here help us to remember God is here with us too.
Pain cannot stop his coming—we forget that sometime.
Sin or madness cannot stop his coming—we forget that sometime.
You are here, Lord stopping at every pew—the light still comes to us all—and the terrible darkness can never, ever put it out.

And so Lord—through music or silence or stained glass or tears or through laughter of little children—come to us once more.
Forgive our sins and wrongs—
Love us as we are.
Yet show us, even in this world, what we might yet be.
O Light of the world—be our light, too. AMEN.

(This Morning Prayer was offered at the First Baptist Church, Clemson South Carolina, December 16, 2012)

(The photograph of the sculptured piece was given to the Abbey of Gethesemani (Bardstown, Kentucky) in memory of Jonathan M Daniels, Episcopal Seminarian martyred in Alabama, August 20, 1965.)

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