As we lift up the people of Newtown, CT and Chengping, Henan province, China, also remember the victims, and families whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence in every community across the United States of America and the world. 

As Jeremiah prophesied and Herod fulfilled, “a voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18

O God, our hope, as you heard the cries of Rachel for her children, hear our cries for the people of Newtown, Connecticut – especially the children, teachers, parents, community, and families and the people of Chengping, Henan province, China (who also experienced an elementary school attack this week). Receive into your loving arms those who lost their lives far too soon; console all parents and loved ones who are still numb with shock, disbelief and grief; strengthen and direct the counselors, educators, religious leaders and first responders who are helping the community grieve while processing their own loss. May your light brighten and overcome the darkness and evil of these days, as we look forward to the advent of your Kingdom of peace and justice here on earth and await the coming of the Prince of all Peace. Transform us into people of justice, love, and peace. Filled with justice and love, Come Lord Jesus, Come.

May our disbelief at this outrage to innocent, trusting children, working educators and loving parents, cause us to live more deeply in love with one another, strive for peace in all aspects of our lives together and seek justice in all forms of inequality and from senseless violence especially from weapons which kill. Be with all who live as witnesses and victims of violence. Call us together as a community, and as a nation, loving God, to work to end violence, to build a safer community, safer schools and places of worship for our children. Turn our mourning and wailing into action. Filled with justice and love, Come Lord Jesus, Come.

God our hope, in you light shines in the darkness and mourning turns to joy. Be with the community of Newtown, CT in this time of overwhelming sorrow. May your light surround them and all victims of violence. Assure them of your promised peace in the midst of suffering, remembering always that God’s promise is for this new heaven and new earth where justice and healing and love will have the last word. Filled with justice and love, Come Lord Jesus, Come.