Holy God,

We are reeling again.
Ten people killed while they were shopping for chips, milk, and maybe some ice cream.
The people on news reports were saying, “That’s my grocery store.  That could have been me.”

Who among us hasn’t run into the store for a few things?
Who among us hasn’t watched the headlines and thought, “That could have been me”?

In a crisis like this, we see people running.
We see them running away, to take shelter, looking for safety.
And we seem them running toward, to get closer, looking for the people they love.
We are connected as a people, and this pain touches us all.

Engage our imaginations and move our hearts toward compassion, Lord.
Let us not merely consider these to be statistics of gun violence,
though it is astoundingly that,
but let us consider their names.

Two middle school girls shopping with their grandfather, getting snacks after school.
A mom with a toddler in her cart, in the produce section.
The people in line for their Covid shots in the pharmacy.
The man at home whose wife left for a few minutes to run a few errands.
The florist. The pharmacist.  The baker.  The stocker.
The clerk.  The manager.  The security guard.

Holy Spirit, be our Great Healer.
Gather what has been scattered.
Be merciful to those who are broken.
Be present to those traumatized.

Be with all who move toward this need.
The helpers, the therapists, the teachers, the moms, the dads.

Give strength to those who are mending broken hearts today,
Who will mend them for years to come.

And even as violence strikes again, let us not lose hope.
We are your hands and your feet.
Give us eyes to see, minds to lead, and hands to hold.

You alone have the strength to carry this people.
Carry us, God.

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