23 December 2012

"Grieving Our Lost Children," In Memoriam for those killed at Newtown, CT

Last week I wrote there were no words for the horrific tragedy at Newtown, CT. Today I discovered a prayer from Walter Brueggemann, a noted Old Testament scholar, which was apparently written after the "last" school shooting our country experienced.

I wanted to share it here because there is a terrible poignancy this year to our celebration of Christmas. The prayer is taken from Prayers For a Privileged People, Walter Brueggemann, Abingdon Press.

Another brutality,
another school killing,
another grief beyond telling . . .
and loss . . .
           in Colorado,
           in Wisconsin,
           among the Amish
           in Virginia.
           Where next?

We are reduced to weeping silence,
     even as we breed a violent culture,
     even as we kill the sons and daughters of
                         our "enemies,"
     even as we fail to live and cherish and respect
          the forgotten of our common life.

There is no joy among us as we empty out schoolhouses;
there is no health among us as we move in fear and
         bottomless anxiety;
there is little hope among us as we fall helpless before
     the gunshot and the shriek and the blood and the panic;
we pray to you only because we we do not know what else to do.
     So we pray. move powerfully in our body politic,
          move us toward peaceableness
                         that does not want to hurt or to kill,
          move us toward justice
                         that the troubled and forgotten may know mercy,
          move us toward forgiveness that we
                         may escape the trap of revenge.

Empower us to turn our weapons to acts of mercy,
       to turn our missiles to gestures of friendship,
       to turn our bombs to policies of reconciliation;
and while we are turning,
       hear our sadness,
       our loss,
       our bitterness.

We dare to pray our needfulness to you
      because you have been there on that
      gray Friday,
      and watched your own Son be murdered
                           for "reasons of state."

Good God, do Easter!
       Here among these families,
        here and in all our places of brutality.
Move our Easter grief now . . .
        without too much innocence ---
         to your Sunday joy.
We pray in the one crucified and risen
         who is our Lord and Savior