Blog|The Rev. Randal Gardner
In this time of great sorrow about Orlando, I would like to share here the prayers I offered at Thursday Evensong. You may also listen to the service.
In the aftermath of such violence as the weekend brought we are surrounded by analysis and scrutiny, blame and anger, speculation and assumptions, deep grief and deeply felt emotions. We have heard a few messages full of hate and prejudice, and many messages of sympathy and words from broken hearts. We have heard stories, and we have met family members, partners and friends who are bereft, and like “Rachel weeping for her children, they will not be consoled.”
In the midst of all of this we take a few moments to tend to our own spiritual and emotional centers, inviting the grace of Christ to sustain and heal us in ways we cannot achieve on our own. Let us tend to what is in our hearts and minds, letting silence turn our thoughts and feelings into prayer.
After silence, Let us offer an Amen.
As the dreadful reality of one murderous rampage captured almost everything within — I speak for myself — in the midst of processing that horror we learned of a small child snatched from a vacation resort a few miles away, taken in the jaws of a natural predator. In some ways the loss of the one can seem so personal and intimate, and yet we do well to pray for each victim of the shooting as if that man or woman was the same as the small child, innocent before the violence, beloved by the parent wishing for the strength to rescue the beloved, lost without a reason or purpose, just lost. Help us, we pray, O gracious Christ, to consider each one lost to violence to be one, to be unique, not brought to death as part of an event, but dying uniquely, dying with the remarkable gift of each individual life coming to its end, dying with the surrounding lamentation of those who loved this person, beautifully unique in everything he or she was in life. May Christ receive each by name, each as the beloved son or daughter in whom all of heaven takes delight. In his name, Amen.
As a cathedral community given the grace to see the gifts, the spirit, the beauty, the love and the faithfulness of gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people, we pray for those who so deeply feel the sting of hate, the sense of loss, the solidarity with those made into targets for who they are. We pray that in the small steps that we can take, and the greater faith that we can preach, that the unbounded love of God, the unbounded unity of God’s spirit with all people may seem real, trustworthy, safe and full of blessing. We pray for the courage of love, the courage to bless all those who have been told that what makes them unique separates them from others, that those wounded by words and judgments may be upheld and healed by God’s loving grace, perhaps by words and acts of kindness and blessing we can offer in God’s name. So we pray. Amen.