Spirit of Life and of Death, Gracious Source of All Love, be here now among us this evening -
Let our hands be your hands, Our hearts be your heart as we reach out across the distance to lend what comfort we can to our brothers and sisters in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
Let our hearts and our minds touch the hearts and minds of all those faith communities who meet this night, as we do, to make sense of our anger and our sorrow, to speak the weight within our hearts, and to remind one another in this time of tragedy that they are not alone, that we are not alone.
Spirit, let us be present with every fiber of our souls to those members of our family who have endured such great terror, pain, and loss. For their sake, and for all our sakes, help us to carry forward the memory of those who have suffered, who are suffering in this moment.
May we bring what comfort we can to the children who gathered that morning to express the joy in their souls, only to lose that joy in fear and confusion.
Let us carry in our hearts all those members and friends of TVUUC whose sense of comfort and safety in their spiritual home has been stripped away. May they discover the strength and courage to continue to worship and live out their ideals as their conscience demands.
Let us pray for the health and safety of Joe Barnhart, Jack Barnhart, Linda Chavez, and Tammy Sommers, wounded in the attack and still hospitalized, and those wounded still unnamed.
Let us carry with us the memory of Linda Kraeger, at church to visit friends that morning, who died later that evening from her wounds.
Let us carry with us the memory of Greg McKendry, who placed his own life in the way of a gun so that others might survive.
Let us hold in our hearts the family and friends of the dead and the wounded. May they know that we share their anger and pain and sense of loss. May they reach, in due time, some form of peace.
Gracious One, grant us the strength, too, to rise above our basic human responses so that we might hope for peace in the soul of Jim Adkisson. We may never understand completely why he resorted to such an evil act, and we may, in truth, find it difficult to forgive — still, we grieve for that part of him that is broken, and we grieve for the broken world that he could not live with.
At last, Spirit of Grace and Love, we hope to find peace in our own hearts and souls. There are those who say that because of the chosen faith we share that the dead and the wounded have received what they deserved, who insist on wishing us harm and evil for living out our conscience. It is tempting to respond in kind. May we find the strength and the grace to rise above the fray, to live out our principles, and to respond in love.
All this we pray in the names of those known and unknown, present and absent, remembered and forgotten. In the names of all the helpers of humankind.