Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Tree of Life

October 27th, 2018 · No Comments · Sharp Prayers

Today, a day of worship for our sisters and brothers in the Jewish community, became a day of mourning when a man entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and (while shouting anti-Semitic slurs) murdered 11 people. In the aftermath of the shooting, I reached out to our friends at Central Synagogue and Temple Emanu ‘El. I expressed both our grief for and our solidarity with the Jewish community. I promised Rabbi Buchdahl and Rabbi Davidson that we would begin tomorrow’s worship services with prayers for all who are grieving and trying to make sense of the hateful acts in Pittsburgh. 

This is the prayer I will be using:

Holy God, in sadness and confusion,

we come before you.

In grief and despair,

we bow our heads.

In the midst of hate, in the face of violence,

we lean on you.

 We pray.

 For the families of those killed in Pittsburgh,

we ask your unfathomable comfort.

For the congregation at the Tree of Life Synagogue,

we ask your healing.

For the shooter and all who are filled with hate,

we ask for a radical change of heart.

For all those (especially in the Jewish community)

who look on the world today with a fresh sense of fear,

we ask your courage.

In this divisive moment,

for everyone who strives to be your light in the darkness,

we ask a blessing.

Our tattered hearts yearn for your blessing.

We do not want false comfort God.

            This problem is too real—too big.

We are surrounded by the shards of violence.

We want another way… We need another way…

            Another way of talking…

            Another way of seeing…

To get there, we need your blessing.

Have mercy on us.

Turn us God. Take your hand and gently turn us.

Face us toward the light.

Fill us with your vast life-changing love.

Help us (all of us) to work together to stop this madness.

This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ,

our Rock and our Redeemer.


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