Holy and loving God, you are the sustainer of our souls and the perfecter of our faith. We give thanks that through our baptisms we are forgiven, made new, invited and accepted into your royal family.  Hear our gratitude.
Today we are yet again stunned by the anguish and despair caused by yet another mass shooting. Atlanta, Boulder, and now Indianapolis for the second time this year. Our hearts are heavy and our souls weary as we grieve the deaths of the perpetrator, his 8 victims, all the survivors, their families, their friends, and our community. We are tired, we are sad, we feel helpless. O’God we pray for your hand to turn us away from violence and point us toward understanding and peace. Hear our lament.
You O God are near to the brokenhearted and those who feel crushed in spirit.  Help us as your faithful people to acknowledge and accept mental illness as readily as we accept physical disease. Our communal psyche is once again hijacked by senseless acts of random violence, accomplished in part because we refuse to see and adequately support the mentally ill among us. God, we pray for stigma and shame about mental illness to decrease and for understanding to develop better access and delivery of mental health services. I pray that each of us finds the courage to more transparent about our own struggles with sadness, depression, anxiety, grief loneliness, and fear. Hear our plea.
As we live in the tension between the celebration of baptism and the horror of random acts of violence, turn our sadness into compassion, our tiredness into advocacy and our feelings of helplessness into the energy to use our freedom and privilege to eradicate violence in all its forms. Hear our united voices.
by Kimberly King