Holy and gracious God,
we gather together
as followers of Christ,
people who believe in his vision
of a world filled
with one people of love.
We strive to be the people
who have answered Christ’s call
to dream his love-filled world into reality
by acting with love, compassion,
and grace toward all God’s children.
We have learned from Jesus
that everyone is a child of God,
no matter our skin color,
our brain capacity,
our sexual orientation,
the language we speak
or the religion we espouse.
Jesus shows us that
we are beings of ultimate and sacrificial love,
and that if we act in kind,
so too will everyone we meet.
We have the power to melt hearts
and change minds
by simply being who we are called to be:
Followers of Jesus who work in his name
to bring about the kin-dom of love
he so passionately believed in.
His is a kin-dom full of paradox
that seems to make no sense
and defies all logic.
Enemies are to be loved, not hated;
outcasts are to be embraced, not disregarded or scorned;
the humble and the meek are lauded, not the rich and powerful.
For it is the power of love
that melts the hardest of hearts
while revenge only creates
an endless cycle of pain and suffering.
We recognize, Gracious God,
and the pain in our midst.
We pray that those whose
hearts are heavy-burdened
by the tragic and unexpected loss
of loved ones in Orlando
will somehow find a way
to still see hope for humanity,
even when the moment
seems completely hopeless.
Please send all of us
your healing presence,
and remind us that you are here,
especially in the midst of tragedy.
hear the wailing sorrow of our hearts
and remind us all
how precious life is
and too fleeting.
Do not let hatred
possess our souls
and pervert our lives,
lest we too become like
those who commit the evils
we must find it in our hearts to forgive.
May the days that follow
be filled with your wisdom.
May the leaders of our secular and sacred spaces,
in governments and houses of worship
all around the world,
be inspired by you
to fill the world with love,
and do what they know in their hearts
is right and good
for the physical and spiritual welfare
of all the people of earth,
no excuses and no exceptions.
May we finally come to respect
the sanctity of all human lives,
and learn to care for each other unconditionally,
in the manner of Jesus,
in whose blessed name we pray.