BY REV. DR. VICTOR L. HUNTER, Pastor
First Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ)
The voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation
Rachel weeping for her children:
She refused to be consoled because they were no more."
Let us keep a moment of silence and remembrance, and prayer, at this time of national mourning, community mourning, family mourning . . . for lost children, shattered hope, incomprehensible grief.
When life breaks our hearts and staggers our comprehension, then where, O God, can we turn? To whom can our souls repair?
To you alone, Holy God, belongs the issues of life and death. You alone, O Lord, are our ever-present foundation in times of trouble and heartache.
For you are the God who suffered, whose own heart was broken, that we might be made whole . . . You are the God who suffered and died, in order that the powers of sin and death might be overcome.
O God of love, may we never forget you. In this time of tragedy, we turn to you, knowing you are with us and for us, knowing that you love us.
Bless now with your grace, comfort, and healing presence those who have especially been touched by sudden and senseless violence, whose pain of grief doubles them over, whose experience of loss is unimaginable. Bless parents and grandparents, bless brothers and sisters, bless aunts and uncles and cousins and friends of the children who were murdered. We are reminded at this time of Christmas of the other Christmas story, the story of the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem, the X rated Christmas story when children were also murdered and the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children: she refused to be consoled because they were no more." And now Rachel's voice echoes in and among the people of New Town, Conn.
Bless husbands and wives and friends and colleagues of teachers and administrators, those adults also murdered while bravely caring for the children in their school.
We are grateful for all children and for these children now gone who brought joy to their loved ones. We are grateful for all teachers and for these teachers who were killed in the line of duty.
Bless us to love and care for our children, to teach them and to spend time with them. Protect them in this time of confusion and fear.
Bless us to attend to the needs and terrors and twisted world of those touched by mental illness. May we reach out and reach out again and again to those who are troubled, lonely, bullied, left out, and ill.
Holy God, our nation needs healing. Use each of us as avenues of grace, comfort, and renewal for the public and common good.
And now we lift to you those lost in this tragedy. Receive them as lambs of your own flock, sheep of your own fold, and children of your own family whom Jesus welcomed.
In his name . . . Amen.
(Note: Rev. Dr. Hunter was one of the pastoral counselors who waited into the night with the parents who lost children in the Columbine shooting in Colorado.)