I am dumbstruck as I listen to the tumble of words about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. My heart is broken. I have turned the news off, then on again. So many words. Breaking details. What do you say when children are senselessly murdered?
I can't really talk, but I am whispering a prayer for every child who died. They may have dreamed of being a teacher, or a firefighter, or a mom. I whisper a prayer for the children's parents, who will experience a hole in their lives. I hold them up in the light of God's mercy as they experience waves of grief and horror. I am whispering a prayer into God's ear for every adult who lost their life today, who planned to care for their loved ones in these Holy days. And I pray for their families.
I whisper prayers of thanksgiving for brave teachers who led children to safety and for first responders who were compassionate and commanding.
There are so many things to talk about. Gun control. Mental illness. Glamorizing shootings. There is much to say and much to do. And we must have these conversations. We must address the violence in our culture. We must find our words and use our voices and act on these critical issues.
But for now, in these moments, we pray. We pray with the Psalmist that God will heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds (Psalm 147.3). We pray for comfort for those who mourn (Matthew 5.4). And when we do not know what to pray, we know, because scripture tells us, that the Spirit will pray on our behalf in sighs too deep for words (Romans 8.26).
If you don't know what to pray right now, if you are not used to praying, or can't find your words, join me in a deep sigh.