You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
This week I offer you something different from my usual reflections.
Appalled by the apparently increasing number of terrorist attacks and the subsequent loss of life my friend Tom from St Louis USA asked ‘What can we do? We want to let people know that life is a precious gift from God and that we value the lives of those around us. These are real human beings whose lives have been ripped from them or forever changed in this violent way. They are loved by someone.’ His answer was to write a prayer that might be used by people or even churches, following an attack like the one that just happened in Istanbul. I reproduce that prayer here since, as Tom says, I hope it might be helpful for you.
‘O God of Life and Promise, you break into our today and tomorrows with the offering of your life-giving presence. We pray that you will come alongside us now in the face of this tragedy that has taken the lives of many of your people; your breath stolen violently from them. Draw their families and loved ones close to you now and hold us all in your arms of comfort and healing. We pray for you to renew the lives of those who are injured in this attack that they may be restored to productive life again.
We give you thanks for the people you send to help in the midst of this horrific situation. They act in your stead to bring comfort and seek healing for your suffering people. Strengthen them for the essential work they do when all seems hopeless and many people feel so fearful and alone.
Lead us also to give our lives to be signs of your loving, life-giving promise in the world you love so much. In your goodness and mercy forgive us for taking life for granted, and fill us with a new spirit of openness, peace, and gentleness. Open our hearts and minds to do what we can to bring aid and comfort where we are able. May we love and care for people who are your precious gift to us. In this time when human life seems so cheap, and is brutally plundered so violently without remorse, use us to show how precious your gift of life is for us all; each breath an offering to be cherished.
Bring an end to the desire of some for vengeance. destruction and death. In your gracious way forgive them and change their hearts toward love instead of hate.
Bring your peace and healing to our broken world and revive your Spirit of love in us all. In your name we pray. Amen.’
May I ask that we all take a few minutes at 12 noon on Friday 8 July to make this prayer together since: “When two or three are gathered together in my name I am in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years