God – by whatever name we call you. You call each of us by name.
God – however we choose to worship you. We are blessed to live in a country in which we enjoy religious freedoms.
God who unites us rather than separates us, you are a God of peace and justice, light, life, and love. You are a God who is present with us in the world as it is, and you are a God who challenges us to be agents of positive change in that world.
In that spirit, we know that you shed tears that fall together with our tears as we pray for all gun violence victims, for their families, friends, and communities who grieve. We pray especially today as we remember 3 years ago those 20 first-graders and their teachers and principal at Sandy Hook School whose lives were filled with such promise until in just 5 minutes of gunfire, everything changed. We changed. But it didn’t end there for we come in prayer with our grief still fresh from the deaths of 14 more people in San Bernadino. God, be with those families. For the stolen years that they cannot ever bring back. And Lord, hear our prayers for the 90 people who will die today by a gun, and for the 90 more who will die tomorrow, and the day after …
But, Lord, our prayers do not stop there. We pray for forgiveness for all the times when we have simply gone about our daily lives, for the many times we have considered only ourselves and our safety and have not involved ourselves when we could have and should have. Now, God, hear our prayers of action, for guidance for our next steps, for our commitment to ending gun violence to be strong and lasting, for our voices to be loud and filled with passion in order to be heard above our opposition, and for our love for all of humanity to be expressed through our activism.
We ask for your blessing upon our gathering today. May it be peaceful and powerful. Amen.