The shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas is tragic on many levels - people who gathered to worship God in a space meant to offer grace and peace were attacked, a close-knit community is rocked by a significant portion of their population being killed or wounded, churches throughout the country have to wrestle again with how to be welcoming and wisely cautious, our country is confronted with yet another incident involving gun violence and mental illness. All of this grieves, infuriates, and bewilders.
Clearly there are no easy answers or we would have made more improvements since two boys killed 15 in Columbine, Colorado and a man killed 8 at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas - both incidents in 1999. We could trace all the tragedies in the 18 years since, but it would be a list too long to read and too depressing to endure, so, we pray, and we live, and we act.
Lord Jesus, bring comfort and healing to the community of Sutherland Springs and all who are grieving with them today. We mourn yet another act of senseless violence. Help them. And, help anyone who is contemplating such an act to get the help they need.
Give those who work with the mentally ill the resources they need to bring healing. Give those who serve as first responders and public safety the resources they need to bring peace. Give those who are involved in the gun business discernment and a commitment to community well-being. Give those who are making laws and creating budgets wisdom to act for the common good.
Help us to live as your disciples, humble enough to learn from you our teacher and our Lord. Help us to act in ways that represent your kingdom and benefit our neighbors. May your grace be with us and your peace prevail. Amen.