Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Prayer for Boston

Loving God,

Darkness has covered our nation and thick darkness has descended upon the people of Boston. Tragedy has clouded out the light. Explosions rang out at the Boston Marathon. Children and adults were wounded by shrapnel while others were killed. In this time of darkness, Holy God, may your resilient light shine forth.

May your heavenly light and love embrace the victims of this tragedy: Krystle Campbell (29), Lu Lingzi (23), and Martin Richard (8). While we are saddened by their deaths, we trust that you will hold them in your eternal embrace, Gracious God.

May your healing light shine on the many innocent bystanders were were wounded by the explosions. Bring your healing to their physical, mental, and spiritual lives as they travel the road to recovery.

May your light shine on the family and friends of the three people who were killed. There's no way to explain the darkness that indiscriminately murders children, women, and men. They were each someone's son, daughter, mother, or father — and nobody can fully understand the immense grief and righteous anger of their loved ones. They need your light, Loving God. Please pour it forth.

May your light shine on the family and friends of all of those who were wounded. This tragedy has sent ripples of grief and anger through all of these people, as they ask the questions anyone would ask. Why? Why her? Why him? Why a child? Why like this? This is a moment where there is a dark night of the soul for many people. So, we pray that you hold them in your light. Please bless all those around them, not with platitudes, but with authentically comforting words. And in the weeks and months ahead, bless them with a passion for seeking justice and building a more peaceful world.

May your light shine on all of us who are saddened and sickened by the news of this act of violence. We suffer from afar as we hear about this on our TVs and read about it on our computers. In our own work of processing this event, Holy God, bless us with enough frustration to reject acts and symbols of violence in our world. And bless us with enough hope to inspire us to work toward building a better, safer world for all people.

May your light shine on the bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose darkness overcame their light. Perhaps they had a long history of perverse decision making. Perhaps their family history was painful. Perhaps their social life was conflictual. Perhaps their mental health was compromised. Perhaps they community of support was of little support. Whatever darkness overtook these men, may it never drive another person to this level. Shine your light into darkest corners, Gracious God.

And may your light shine on the friends and family of the murderer — who may be asking questions to which there are no easy answers. May their sadness, anger, guilt, and shame be accepted by those around them as they process this situation. And someday, may they be able to see and know that light does shine in the darkness — and the darkness will not overcome it.

Even in the midst of this tragedy, may we hold onto the hope that your light will continue to shine forth in the darkness until we are able to boldly proclaim the words of Isaiah: “Arise, shine; for our light has come, and the glory of God has risen within us.” 

Amen.

(This prayer is based on Isaiah 60:1-2.)

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