Like the rest of the world, I am devastated by the horrific events in Orlando, Florida early this morning. I am devastated by the loss of life. I am devastated by the violence. I am devastated by the hateful, targeted attack against a marginalized community of people. I am devastated.
They are now calling this “the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.” The numbers are there to prove it: 50 people dead and 53 wounded. In looking at the numbers of the worst U.S. mass shootings, all of them – ALL of them – have occurred since 2006. In the last ten years, we have lost more of our friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, and church members to mass shootings than at any other time in our nation’s history. This is sobering, gut-wrenching. And the fact that this particular shooting was carried out against people who had gathered together to relax, have fun, laugh, dance, and feel safe is nauseating. I don’t care what your views are on homosexuality, no one deserves that.
We have so much work to do. As Christians, we are called to live out God’s command to love our neighbors and to be Christ’s peace-bearers in the world. Thus, we are called to address the hatred, fear, judgement, and assumptions that led to this tragedy.
But before we can do that we must grieve. We must feel the pain – enter into it. We must look at the dead, listen to the cries of those who mourn, hear the sirens blaring, and sit with the questions that come with such senseless violence. We must be willing to enter the pain and see that God is there, shedding holy tears and asking us when we will respond to God’s call to us to live in Peace. That’s the only way that our actions will make any sense or have any real impact.
I offer this prayer bead devotion as a way of doing that. May God have mercy on us.
Hear our cries, O Lord.
Prayer Bead Devotion
Cross: God of Mercy,
Invitatory Bead: more than ever we need to know
Resurrection Bead: the power and presence of your Son, Jesus Christ.
First Cruciform Bead: We are devastated by this tragedy in our midst.
Week Beads, 1st Set: Use each bead to lift up this tragedy to God; to consider the names, the faces, the lives of those who are impacted, both near and far.
Second Cruciform Bead: Hear our pain, Lord. Hear our grief, our anger, our disbelief, our fear, our loss.
Week Beads, 2nd Set: Use each bead to name your feelings and questions regarding this tragedy.
Third Cruciform Bead: We confess our brokenness; we acknowledge that we all have fallen short in living out your love and preventing such tragedies of violence.
Week Beads, 3rd Set: Use each bead to confess the brokenness in your own life and community – whether it is fear or inaction or judgement, identify the ways in which you have not answered God’s call to live out God’s love and peace to the world.
Fourth Cruciform Bead: Have mercy on us, Lord. Help us to experience the comfort of your presence in this time of tragedy, and offer it to others who need it. Most importantly, help us to bring your Peace to a broken world.
Week Beads, 4th Set: Use each bead to pray for and experience God’s comfort, and to listen for the ways in which you are being called to offer God’s comfort and peace to the world.
Resurrection Bead: In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,
Invitatory Bead: who grieves with us,
Repeat the following phrase with each bead, allowing the words to sink into your heart and open you to the sound of God’s voice.
Lord, have mercy.