Pulpit Notes: God’s Healing Balm in the World
Prayers for Those Who Are Suffering
The recent bombing in Manchester, England, is in our thoughts. With every moment that passes, we hear more and more painful details. This senseless act of violence hurt so many innocent people, both in body and in spirit.
Like many in the world today, we remain horrified, angry, and in disbelief. We lament the loss of life, and we pray for those who were injured, for their loved ones, and for those who mourn. We also are praying for the many people who cared for the injured, those whom our nation refers to as “first responders.” We also, however, must pray for those who would turn to such cruel violence — that God would open their hearts and minds to find a way to abandon hate and acts of destruction against humanity. Though we may struggle with this form of evil and those who would commit it, we are called to pray for the mercy and forgiveness of our God. We hear more stories every day of the love and grace shown by people of faith everywhere; and so, in this tragedy and in all our days, we must turn to our Lord in prayer and represent Jesus Christ to all.
God of mercy and grace, we turn to You first in our pain and disbelief. We ask that Your Holy Spirit guide and comfort those families who have lost loved ones and those who were injured. We do not fully understand terror or evil, but we have witnessed it in this tragedy. We look to You. We trust in You, knowing that Your love, O God, prevails even in the midst of unfathomable horror. We pray for Your intercession for all those who are suffering, and we ask Your blessings on all those who are sharing your love and mercy. Through You, we know that love takes action, as the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus gives witness. Help us, then, to respond with faith and compassion to all who have suffered, and may we find ways to be bearers of peace in this fallen world. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Reverend Dr. Conrad C. Sharps
Photograph: Detail of an art glass window in the south transept of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church sanctuary, depicting Jesus blessing the children. Window designed by the Gorham Company of New York. Photo taken by Ellen L. Allston.