A Litany Against Gun Violence

The church where my friend, Rev. Dr. Robert Lowry, serves has created a litany to be used in homes and churches and any place people may gather in the wake of yet another school shooting that has taken away so many lives. They have come up with words that so many of us are at a loss for and have graciously shared them.

A Litany Against Gun Violence

Composed Following the Robb Elementary School Shootings in Uvalde, TX

Lord and Giver of Life, you created all that is, that was, and that ever will be.

You set in motion your creation calling us to live in harmony and peace.

You looked at the work of your hands and your heart and you said, “It is good.”

What a mess we have made of your good work!

We have neglected your creation and become numb to the suffering of your children.

Still, somehow, you stick with us,

            you never forsake us,

            you remind us, time and time again,

            that we are called to be a blessing in your world.

So we pray, not in the hope that you might hear but in thanks that you always do.

Make us a blessing, O God. Make us a blessing in your world.

God of Promise, we face once again the senseless violence of our culture.

What were once places of safety and routine

                        a grocery,

                        a church,

                        an elementary school,

are now marked by violence and hate and death.

We struggle to make sense of the senseless and understand the incomprehensible.

Our hearts are broken and our spirits heavy as we watch in horror as communities and families are once again scarred by the senseless destruction of gun violence.

In our mourning,

Make us a blessing, O God. Make us a blessing in your world.

God of Our Calling, you have set upon our hearts the promise of Christ resurrected.

We have seen what can be done when the righteous energy of your children is put to work in the world.

Stir in us an unstoppable commitment to the dignity of every life and the strength to bear witness against a world that counts the cost of liberty in broken lives and says, “OK.”

Grant us voices to reply, “No more!”

Give your church an unquenchable thirst and unsatiable hunger for righteousness and justice so we may never cease witnessing to the hope for blessed community shaped by Christ resurrected in a world surrendered to death and destruction.

In our hunger for righteousness,

Make us a blessing, O God. Make us a blessing in your world.

God of Wisdom, you have endowed our leaders with immense power

            and the responsibility to preserve the life and liberty of our people.

Grant them a more than “thoughts and prayers.”

Give them the blessing of your Word and the urgency of your Spirit

            so they may not rest until they act

                        with wisdom rather than fear,

                        with conviction rather than convenience,

with courage without counting the political cost.

We long for the day when our policymakers will heed your call to be peacemakers.

In our search for peace,

Make us a blessing, O God. Make us a blessing in your world.

Lord of Compassion, you have given us the command to proclaim Christ resurrected in a world of death.

Grant us merciful and generous hearts to see in one another, those with whom we agree and with whom we disagree, the dignity and love of God.

Give us the words to bear witness to a world defined

            by mercy toward one another rather than fear of the other,

            by commitment to peace rather than grasping for power,

            by our common cause rather than our selfish wants.

In your mercy and in hope for our own,

 Make us a blessing, O God. Make us a blessing in your world.

God of all that is good, all that is wise, all that is possible,

            give us eyes to see possibilities beyond the tragedy of this moment

            and minds to imagine a world of grace unlike any we have imagined before.

For and with those who have been lost, who mourn, who seek to offer care and restoration, we offer our prayers in the hope of the risen Christ.

In this deep valley of death where we find our nation once again, we pray with confidence and hope in the name of Christ:

Make us a blessing, O God. Make us a blessing in your world. 

***Permission to publish and use in worship is granted with the following attribution:***

Worship & Arts Ministry of Westover Hills Presbyterian Church Little Rock, AR

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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