Monday, June 13, 2016

In the Wake of the Pulse murders in Orlando.

As I write this, the news has just come out of 50 people filled at Pulse, a gay nightclub in downtown Orlando, Florida.  It is devastating news to hear. Not only are we reeling with news of violence of more gun violence, we are also reeling because of more violence against GLBTQ people.

We, as Christians, find ourselves struggling with news like this. For me, personally, I find myself simply closing up and retreating into a kind of shocked silence. I know it is neither healthy behavior, nor is it helpful. But it is an honest reaction. When I heard the news of the shooting, I was preparing for our Sunday morning celebration of Holy  Eucharist, at which we dedicated our new window of the Good Samaritan. In that service, I preached about Jesus’ commandment to love—love God, love our neighbor, love ourselves. It is hard to find love in our hearts when we are reeling with shock and pain over concentrated violence. But love, we must do, even in the face of such agony.

For me, prayer is the one consolation I have in moments like this. And the prayer I find myself drawn to in moments like this is the Great Litany, found in the Book of Common Prayer. If you have never read (or prayed) this incredible prayer, please do consider turning to page 148 in the BCP and looking at it. One special section of the Litany is called “The Supplication” (BCP p. 152), which can be prayed “especially in times of war, or of national anxiety, or of disaster.”

It was the Supplication I found myself praying in the wake of the Pulse mass murder. Sometimes, in the midst of tragedies like this, my own words in prayer simply do not suffice. That is why I continue to be so grateful for the Book of Common Prayer.

As we continue to process the horrible violence that surrounds, as we struggle to make sense of the murder of innocent people, as we struggle with continued violence against GLBTQ people, I ask you to pray, of course, for the souls of those who have died, pray for the turning of  the hearts of our enemies and pray for peace. I also do invite you to pray the Supplication:
V.     From our enemies defend us, O Christ;
R.     Graciously behold our afflictions.
V.     With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts;
R.     Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people. 

V.     Favorably with mercy hear our prayers;
R.     O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
V.     Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ;
R.     Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord
         Christ. 

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