Loving God, darkness has covered our community, and thick darkness has descended upon the people. Tragedy has clouded out the light.
Shots rang out at the mall in Coralville, Iowa. A young woman was senselessly murdered.
In this time of darkness may your resilient light shine forth.
May your light shine on the family and friends of Andrea Farrington. After the darkness of continual harassment and threats against her, the actual murder of Andrea must be filling those who love her with a cloudy midnight of immense grief and righteous anger. They need your light, Loving God. Please pour it forth.
May your light shine on the people who were gathered at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville. After ending his shift at the mall as a security guard, a man retrieved a gun from his home and returned to the crowded food court area, where he purposefully tracked down Andrea and fatally shot her in the back. This must confound their loved ones and the survivors in ways we can only imagine. So, we do what we can, Loving God, and pray for your light to make its way in their lives – and in the emotional recovery of the witnesses.
May your light shine on the family and friends of all of those who were affected or shaken by this act of violence. 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 a young woman? Why now? Why like this? Why? 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 comforting words and healing acts. 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 and in our newspapers. In our own work of processing this event, Holy God, bless us with enough hope to build a better world, enough grace to respect diversity, and enough frustration to reject acts and symbols of violence in our world.
May your light shine on the murderer, Alexander Kozak, whose darkness overcame his light. Perhaps he has a long history of perverse decision making. Perhaps his family history was painful. Perhaps his social life was conflictual. Perhaps his mental health was compromised. Perhaps his community of support was of little support. Whatever darkness overtook this man, may there be a way for light to peek through into his life.
May your light shine on the friends and family of the murderer – who may be asking questions for 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.
And may your light shine on the media that fills our screens with violence, sexism, and rage. There’s no such thing as a lone gunman – and sometimes the negativity on the airwaves is enough to tip the balance of an already imbalanced person. Yet the people who fill the airways with this kind of darkness need light, too. So, Loving God, through your light, may they see the damage that their words do to our world. And may their hearts be softened, their words be tempered, and their styles of entertainment be changed, so that their positions in the media can be used in the service of fostering a more peaceful, equitable, and loving world.
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, with the author 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.