An Invitation to Collective Prayer for Aurora Shooting Victims

It goes withoutsaying that those who arewounded,those who have died, thefamilies ofvictims and emergency responders are in need of our prayer. But I would add that a callto prayeris farmore than a polite and consoling gesture.
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"Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rulein your hearts,to which indeed youwerecalled in the one body."
--Colossians3:14-15

DearFriends,

Thenews islessthan48hours old, butallofusarestilltakinginthehorrorofyesterday'sshootingsinAuroraeven asthistragicstorycontinuestounfold.

Clearlywe areall processingthe news invariousways, depending on ourproximityto people directly affected bythese eventsandinlightof our ownpersonalhistories.Clearly these events raiseavarietyoftroublingissuesthatcontinuetohauntourcollectivelives, andcertainly theseeventsprovokeinusavarietyofresponses.What wehaveincommon,however,isthis -- an acutesenseofloss,thatheartbreakweallexperiencewhenweseethebeautyofourcollectivehumanitydiminishedyetagainsoviolentlyandsosenselessly.

Iwantyoutoknowthatyoursistersandbrothers inAuroraandthesurroundingarea areexercising wonderfulpastoralcareandoutreachtotheircommunities.Theyaresupportingindividualsandfamiliesthathavebeendirectly affected bytheshootings.Theyare spendingtimewithyouthandyoungadults withinandbeyondthescopeoftheirowncongregations.

Theyare makingcontactwithteachersandparents,openingthedoors of theirchurches,having oneononeconversationwithfolksinneed,connecting withcityandgovernmentofficials,and gatheringfolksinprayer andvigil -- including, in particular, aprayervigiltobeheldthisSunday evening at 7at Saint Stephen'sEpiscopalChurchinAurora.

What isneededmost, Ibelieveatthispoint,isourcollectiveprayer,andIwrite specificallytoday toextendthatinvitationtoyou,thepeopleofTheDioceseofColorado.

It goes withoutsaying that those who arewounded,those who have died, thefamilies ofvictims, emergencyresponders, medicalandlawenforcement personnel, cityand governmentofficials, pastoralcareproviders andsoon are inneedofourprayer. But Iwould add,however,thata call toprayerisfarmore than a polite andconsolinggesture.

Thegreatestgiftwehavetoofferoneanother isindeedourcollectiveprayer -- notmerelykindwishes,notsimplygood intentions,butdeepprayer -- theabilitytohold, tangiblyandintentionally,othersinthatabundantlovethatflowsfreelyandgracefullywithinusandamongus.Thishassubstance.Thishasweightandheft.This, andthisalone, isthesourceofdeep healing,lasting transformation andenduringpeace.

Thisis our inheritance and our gift -- living water for ourselves and for a world that thirsts forlife.

EvenasIextendthisinvitationtoyou,Iammindfulofallthelossesthathaveaffectedmanyof ourcommunitiesinpastmonths,particularlythosewhohavesufferedlossduetotherecent wildfires.Allthemore reasontorenewourcollectivecommitmenttothegiftandpracticeof
prayer.

Sopleasejoinwith me inmaking thisyourintentionalwork todayandinthedaysahead,andpleaseinviteotherstojoinyouindoingthe same.Rememberalwaysthatindoingso,youare giving ourworld thegiftoflife.

Deep peaceandmanyblessingsbewithyou.

Faithfully,
Bishop O'Neill

The Right Reverend Robert O'Neill
The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado
1300 Washington Street
Denver, CO 80203

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