make us instruments of your peace.  

The Lord proclaims:

A voice is heard in Ramah,

    weeping and wailing.

It’s Rachel crying for her children;

    she refuses to be consoled,

    because her children are no more.

-Jeremiah 31:15

 

In November of 2020, the ELCA published a supplement to the red hymnal called All Creation Sings. We didn’t purchase any copies at RLC, and I’d understand if you had no idea it even existed. After all, in November of 2020, you were wrapping up a building project, working through a call process, and wondering what Christmas in a pandemic would look like. 

By 2020, the red hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, was 14 years old. The ELCA wanted to offer updated music, liturgies, and prayers, and so All Creation Sings was born. Now, if you’ve ever flipped through the very front of the ELW, you know that there are a multitude of prayers printed in the front, for everything from those in the armed forces to adoption to those suffering from addiction to a peaceful night’s sleep. The intention was to offer prayers so that when words were needed, there would be a ready resource.

In All Creation Sings, the publishers added resources for prayer and lament in the wake of gun violence.

I can only imagine how little the developers of these resources wanted them to be necessary. I know how little I want to need to pray them. I have heard, again and again, the bleak and painful devastation at the news that children have died at school, that shoppers have died at the grocery store, that worshipers have died at prayer. A voice wails out from Uvalde, and from Buffalo, and from Newtown, and from Charleston, and…

When there is no consolation to be had, we cry out to one another and to God. And when words do not come, we turn to the words prepared for just such a time as this:

 

God, giver of life, you intend for humans to live together in peace. In this time of grief over gun violence, we pray for your presence among us. That, trusting in your mighty and gentle healing, we may live in hope, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.

 

God of resurrection, we remember before you those who have died, nineteen children, two teachers, and one shooter. We commend them to your eternal love. Grant healing and wholeness to the survivors who are wounded or traumatized, and restore all whose spirits are maimed by such violence. That we may serve as your arms of care to those in distress, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.

 

God of righteousness, you have laid on our elected leaders the responsibility to protect our land. Strengthen their devotion to our common life, and guide legislators to enact policies that address our plague of gun violence. That our government may support our search for domestic harmony, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.

 

God of compassion, we give you thanks for first responders, for police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and all who offer compassionate aid in situations of tragedy. Keep them safe from harm, and give them courage and sound judgment as they act. That we may join in support of those who risk their lives for others, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.

 

God of forgiveness, we ask your mercy on the one who fired the weapon. With your grace, transform those who from malice or illness inflict violence on others. Console their families. Believing in your power to make all things new, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.

 

God of the promise in word and sacrament, we pray for the church. Give us a voice, your voice, to plead for a society marked by justice and sustained by cooperation among diverse peoples. Train us to resist the lure of brute force. That by your Spirit we may become words and signs of your mercy, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.

 

God of true might and redemptive mercy, receive our prayers, and grant us to become your instruments of peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.