Prayers for Sandy Hook

December 18, 2012

in Reflections on the Life of Faith

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In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary last week, we stand in solidarity with all those who are grieving and experiencing such profound, devastating loss.

We do not believe there are any easy or simplistic answers to questions like “Why?” or “How?,” and as we pray for the family members and friends whose lives have been forever changed by this horrific event, we are moved mostly to silence and tears.

There are, however, resources in our Christian tradition that have something to say at moments like this, and we list a few of them here.

We list them not because we believe they will make everything all right, or because we think they will ease all of the pain, or because we expect them to take away all of the grief, but because we believe that there is truth in them.

We list them here because we believe, with St. Paul, that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Not life, not death, not even unspeakable, horrific, tragic events (see Romans 8 below). We list them here because our faith teaches us that death does not have the last word. Instead, the last word – the final word – is a word of resurrection and life.

And so we pray with heavy hearts. But we also pray with hope. We pray trusting that the God we worship as Emmanuel – God With Us – is indeed with us. Even now. Especially now.

God bless you, and please continue to pray for the good people of Newtown, CT, and for all who grieve.

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The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. – Romans 8:26

A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. – Jeremiah 31:15

Help us, we pray, in the midst of things we cannot understand, to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting. – Prayer from the Lutheran Book of Worship

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? . . . . Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39

See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. – Revelation 21:3-4

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