A Prayer for Grief and Courage

I am poured out like water;
my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted in my breast…
–Psalm 22

Spirit of Life, Infinite Love,
You in whom we live and move
and have our being:

How do such things happen?
How is it that children
can be shot in their schools?
How can we live with it?
The pain is so great that it seems
we might not.

Help us grieve in the way
humans need to grieve:
with wailing and sobbing
and tearing of hair and clothing.
Help us grieve.

And then help us rise up.

Help us rise up in grief and outrage.
Help us know in our bones
that we will NOT live with this.

Give us the courage to cry out,
“Enough! No more of this! Enough!
We will not stand helplessly by while children
are killed in their schools!
Or in their homes, or on their streets,
or anywhere our love can reach!”

Help us use all of our strength
and all of our skill
to make this world safe
for children everywhere.

May it be so. Blessed be. All our relations. Ashe. Amen.


Every day this week, the news has sent me reeling with shock.  The atrocities being committed by human beings upon other human beings, as well as upon other kinds of beings—including the very Earth—are so numerous and so terrible that I feel overwhelmed and unable to speak.  I have expected these things to come to pass and yet I am still shocked, and I am afraid of what will be next.

As a minister, I have sometimes felt that my job is to give people hope even when times are dark.  Sometimes that may be true.  Sometimes.  More often, my job is to be present to what is truly happening, and to name it as best I can.  And to be present with my people, and help them be present with each other.

Today, I can’t give you hope.  Today, I must be present to the grief and anger and pain that arise when the government of our own rich and powerful nation decides to begin bombing a country whose people are already suffering trauma beyond trauma. In that spirit, I offer you this prayer:

Spirit of Life,
Great immensity of love
in which we live and move
and have our being:

Sometimes there are no words
that can express the enormity
of our grief and outrage.
This is one of those times.
There is just so much.
So much that is evil and wrong.
So much that is cruel and hateful.
So much that is simply painful.

In times such as these, let us come together.
Let us sit in silence with candles lit.
Let our tears fall freely.
Let us not be afraid to break the silence with wails and sobs.
Let us hold each other while we weep.

This is how we make manifest
the love that will not let us go:
we hold on to one another.

For we can only get through this, together.
We can only change this, together.