Across the country, people have been reflecting on the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Can we challenge ourselves to stand on the side of love with everyone involved in this terrible tragedy? Rev. Fred Small shared this moving reflection with us. Please feel free to share your own personal reflections, prayers, or anything else that has moved you.
Prayer for Newtown
Rev. Fred Small
First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist
Hearing the news from Connecticut of the deaths of so many people, so many children, our sorrow is beyond words, beyond comforting.
This violence was concentrated terribly in that one schoolhouse in that one small town, and yet this violence is commonplace.
In our beautiful and beloved country, scores of people die from gunfire every day.
In Boston so far this year, 49 people have been murdered, 34 of them by guns. The youngest victim was 9-year-old Christopher Miles. The oldest was Mary Miller, age 70.
Each person precious.
Every violent death an abomination.
We are desolate. We are disconsolate. We are angry.
And so we pray.
Spirit of Life,
God of hope in our despair,
God of compassion and forgiveness,
God of many names and one abundant love:
We pray for parents whose children will never again dash through the kitchen, never slam the door, never spill jelly on the sofa, never wake in the night needing comfort, never leave home, never fall in love, never grow up.
We pray for children whose buddies will never again ask if they can come over and play, whose siblings will never again tease them about their hair or their clothes.
We pray for children whose parents or grandparents will never again pick them up, never hold them close, never tuck them in, never kiss them goodnight.
We pray for every person who has lost a lover, a companion, a friend.
We pray for every child and every adult who will never, ever forget what they experienced in that school Friday morning.
We pray for teachers who must learn lockdown drills as well as prepare lesson plans.
We pray for a culture that fetishizes violence in movies, television, videos, songs, and first-person-shooter electronic games.
We pray for a mental health system so emaciated it makes no pretense of reaching those who desperately need help.
We pray for a criminal justice system that privileges punishment over healing, incarceration over reconciliation.
We pray for a political system so corrupted by wealth and bullied by power that good people are frightened to do what they know is right.
We pray for communities where shootings and other violent acts are daily occurrences.
We pray for those abused by the slow-motion violence of poverty and oppression.
And we pray for ourselves, that we may have the wisdom and the courage to act;
to change the conditions that make these crimes not only possible, but inevitable;
and to build the Beloved Community on this earth,
in this community,
in our time.
Amen and Blessed Be.
This post was written by Rev. Fred Small.