(also posted on Facebook)
The words of the ancient writer of the Psalms in the Bible: "My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." (Psalm 119:28)
I share my deep sadness over the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Any of my words fail to adequately express the depth of shock and despair that grips our collective soul over this senseless rampage of violence. As we struggle to comprehend loss of this magnitude, my heart longs for comfort for those whose lives were lost or forever altered because of the shooting: for those who died and those who were hurt, for their families and friends, for the many professionals who were first-responders to the tragedy, and for those who are participating in the physical, emotional and spiritual healing that is now taking place.
It is the comforting love of God and the hope of salvation and healing that comes from Jesus Christ that we need in situations such as this. As Christians who believe in the healing, redemptive power of Jesus, let our prayers also include the shooter. We do not know what drives a person to perpetrate such harm upon innocent persons, but we do know that in Christ we find the power to bear the profound grief and anger that grips us.
So let us turn to God for strength for all those whose soul melts away because of this and all acts of inhumanity toward others.
Pray with me: Gracious God, our help in times of trouble: we turn to you in the wake of sadness, shock and anger of great magnitude! Our prayer is for your divine comfort for the many who are burdened in heart and soul by loss, injury, and senseless violence. We struggle to understand; we yearn to know "why?" Some even now cling to life and need your healing touch. In these troubling moments, reassure us of your love for us; the love that will enable us to move away from the deep abyss of despair. Keep us from being overcome by hopeless sorrow. Rather, let our tears of sadness flow into a river of hope in your reassuring Word that you are always with us and that your rod and staff of strong love in Jesus Christ comfort us, in the name of Christ, our salvation and hope, Amen.