In the face of the continuing and uniquely American plague of gun violence

Posted on by Bishop Susan Goff

A Prayer of Bishop Goff

In the face of the continuing and

uniquely American plague of gun violence


Holy God

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. 

And 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.