How long, O Lord? How long? As we gather to pray with the preschool teachers each Wednesday morning, these words of Psalm 13 are what came to us this past week. These words may have also come to you as you heard the news of the tragedy at Robb Elementary in Texas. Our hearts hurt, there is fear and worry and anger, and, we wonder, how long?
The words of the psalmist have a way of capturing so much, putting to word thoughts and feelings when we may have no words of our own. I’m curious, do you have a Psalm or words of Scripture you turn to in times like these? If you do, I would be honored if you would share them.
It is in times like these when we turn to and cling to Scripture and when we hold to one another in collective shock and grief.
On Wednesday morning we also read Psalm 31, In you, O Lord, I seek refuge…Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. These words, in their familiar way, bring comfort.
When there are no words, we turn to God in prayer, to the Psalms and other bits of Scripture, resting in the words prayed by others. As we continue to grieve and as we discern how to respond, as this has happened too many times, we pray. I invite us to pray together, using the blessing by Kate Bowler written for times like these as well as the hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette written in response to last Tuesday’s violence.
“Holy Spirit, wind and flame, send us out in Jesus’ name” (Carolyn Winfrey Gillette).
A BLESSING FOR COLLECTIVE GRIEF
God, we are blindsided
what we thought was impossible,
has brought us to our knees.
God, things don’t make sense,
the innocent still suffer,
buildings still fall,
families still grieve.
help us to know what to feel,
what to do,
how to grieve—together
blessed are we
who let reality in
though our bodies shudder.
blessed are we
who ask and wait, and ask again
for answers that may not come,
for hope that seems hard to find,
for comfort that is not easily found.
along the way
show us how to live
when we’ve lost the things
we cannot get back.
remind us that you, oh God,
are our home and our refuge
when life’s cruelty and our fragility
are too difficult to shoulder alone.
be with us, oh God of all comfort.