God of Peace
God of Justice
Giver of Life,
We mourn, we lament, we rage
as the scourge of gun violence
in our land continues unabated,
as the uniquely American
plague of gun violence slaughters
our siblings, our parents, our children.
Just last evening it struck in an Episcopal Church
during a potluck supper.
Many in the Diocese of Virginia
know the rector and people of
St. Stephen’s in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
We know how they gathered last night
when random and senseless violence
changed their world.
We know because we gather as they did
to enjoy the ordinary ministry of community.
Every time the sin and evil
of gun violence strikes,
we are traumatized again.
because those killed and injured
are our family.
They are us.
God, we mourn, we lament, we rage.
We organize and march.
We write our Senators and Congress members.
We go to Washington and meet with them in person.
We engage the legislative process and the gun lobby
through Bishops United Against Gun Violence,
our Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations
and the Episcopal Public Policy Network.
We adopt General Convention resolutions.
We wear orange stoles and orange clothes
as a sign of our commitment.
We gather and vote and listen and learn.
And we pray. Oh, how we pray.
For hope. For faith.
For an end to this brutal bloodshed.
And still so little seems to change.
We feel helpless in the face of a culture
that chooses the right of an individual to bear arms,
any and all arms without restriction,
over the right of all people to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.
We fall prey to hopelessness
when members of our human family
are slaughtered day after day, week after week.
But we are not helpless.
We are not without hope.
We hope in you, powerful God, to turn the tide,
To help us turn the tide of public opinion at last.
To turn the tide of what we Americans will tolerate.
To turn the tide of our uniquely American
love affair with guns into a love affair with life.
To turn the tide as we make distinctions between
gun ownership and gun violence
so that this scourge will end at last.
Save us from helplessness.
Save us from hopelessness.
Teach us how to be your partner
in turning the tide
for the sake of Life.