Yesterday, October 1, we saw another mass shooting take place, this time at Umpqua Community College in Oregon
Just writing the words “another mass shooting” makes my hand shake. As I write this, ten victims are known to have died, and twenty victims are hospitalized.
On a day when our daily office gospel reading from Matthew 8 talks of three different healings, I wonder if we will ever take action to desire healing for ourselves of the sickness of a society that seems to lack the will to do anything more than shrug our shoulders at the repeated ability for violent and unstable individuals to get their hands on semi-automatic weapons and dozens of rounds of ammunition. Because it is obvious in so many of Jesus’s healings in the gospel that the initiative for healing begins with ourselves. The leper, desperate and outcast, kneels before Jesus, and is willing to act in faith that healing is possible. The centurion, also an outsider, has faith enough to believe that healing can come even with a word. Peter’s mother-in-law and dozens more are healed at Peter’s house. The multitudes come to Peter’s house, hoping for healing and willing to risk whatever it takes for that chance. Healing can only start with acknowledging that which ails us. It all starts with believing there IS the possibility of healing for what ails us, and in being willing to take the steps necessary to be healed.
Perhaps it can start with a prayer.
Come, Holy One, come.
Come to those who are weary, and need rest and relief.
Come to those who mourn.
O God, we turn our faces to you as we seek to become more faithful to your Word. We open ourselves to you, O Loving Friend, and seek to do your will. We ask you for guidance to those who do not know their way, for providing a light in the night for those who feel lost at sea.
But you, Loving One, suffer with us and know our pains, as we are your very own. We know you bend your heart to those who cry out to you. Send out your Spirit upon those who mourn a loss beyond comprehension, and give us guidance to do what we can to love them through these days and hours.
Help us to overcome the evil done to us, and help us turn away from any evil we have done. We ask for the courage to work to protect each other in love and hope. Help us to have courage to open our hearts in hope rather than close our fists in anger. We lift up those who have been the victims of crime. We lift up those who are sick in body, heart, or mind. Help us take the first steps on the road to peace and healing, guided by the light of your truth. Help us admit we need healing, and have the faith that healing is possible. Help us to believe, and to act. Amen.
Leslie Scoopmire is a retired teacher and postulant for the priesthood in the Diocese of Missouri. She attends Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, MO. She is a member of and musician at the Church of the Holy Communion in University City, Missouri, in the Diocese of Missouri, and tweets daily prayers and news of note @HolyCommUCity. Her blog is Abiding in Hope.
Image: by Leslie Scoopmire