First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
Creator of heaven and earth, eternal God … the news of the day won’t let us rest … and that’s all right, O LORD… we’ll not shy away from the cross of Christ; in his name, we will carry the burdens of justice and love, and the pain and sorrow occasioned by fear and hatred… we will, dear God, to the best of our abilities, defend our neighbors against all forms of bigotry and mistreatment.
But neither are we pure, LORD. We know that, and it pains us to say so.
There is something of Cain’s instinct in each of us, perhaps quiet and not so violent, but Cain nonetheless, skulking around the edges of our soul … protect us, we pray, from evil influences; help us to look to Jesus all the more, and with his Spirit, confront our own demons and help the world find its goodness.
With your Holy Spirit, dear God, empower us to work all the more to make this a just and peaceful world … to live the glory of the beatitudes … to honor the Sermon on the Mount … to love as our LORD has loved us, for there is no greater power than love, and love no greater, than to lay down our lives for one another.
We pray for the families of the dead … may the love of friends and neighbors be deeply felt in long hugs and shared tears … may the hymns of faith bring comfort … may the Word of Life proclaimed bring new resolve to work for racial healing.
We pray for those who have given themselves unto hatred … who look upon the world with fevered eyes … eager to kill for the sake of bad dreams and bitter lies. We pray that some influence, some word, some moment of sanity, will break through the walls of hatred and fear, to cleanse their souls and change the course of their lives, to a course of life set upon good rather than evil.
And may our nation, dear God, use this tragedy to think a little more clearly about the violence that courses through our cities and towns … racial and ethnic hatred, hatred for gays and lesbians and transgenders … so much hatred, O God, and a lot of it in the name of your Son, Jesus.
Here in this place, we would be different … true to Christ, welcoming all, and lifting up the truth of all religion: to love one another is salvation.
For our leaders, O God, grant wisdom to craft legislation that can put the brakes on violence … legislation that promotes the dreams of our pilgrim mothers and fathers - a land of opportunity, where anyone can be president, and everyone can find a safe place to live out their hopes and dreams.
Be with us, then, dear God, in the remains of this day … whether it’s back to work, or back to bed, or out to celebrate Father’s Day … help us, we pray, to be of good cheer, love much, think deeply, read widely, forgive quickly … brave in the face of adversity and kind in all our ways, eager to put our hand to the plow and never ever look back … Amen and Amen!