Grieving Together

After a time of reflection and lament this morning, Raina sang a beautiful song as we tied ribbons on (no longer) bare branches to honor where we are struggling now, what we are grieving, or in memory of the survivors of tragedy.

Las Vegas

Hello Westhope community,

       God’s peace and presence be known by you.  In the wake of the horrible shooting in Las Vegas I call on us all to hold the families and people involved and all those who have been injured in our thoughts and prayers.   I also am aware that for some of our congregation this has hit pretty close to home.  Know that we are with you in our prayers, and we never have to face this kind of senseless violence alone.  I am including some good words from our Presbyterian leadership that seem appropriate in response.  May we all work to be bearers of peace and healing to all the little corners of our lives and our world so that acts like this will be unknown in our future.  Deep blessings to you as we remain
        In communion,  Erik
Here is a news article about Presbyterian churches provide pastoral support in midst of chaos in Las Vegas

Here is a prayer written by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:

God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
As the sound of gunfire again echoes over another American city,
we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.
As death rained down from above in the dark of night,
We pray this day for the Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in its wings,
and rain mercy, grace and peace upon our broken people.

So many have been lost: brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends
gathered in the unity of music, scattered by evil and hatred.
We pray for solace for all who loved them.
We pray for those who have been spared and those whose lives are changed forever
that they may find healing, sustenance, and strength in the hard days to come.

We give thanks for first responders:
who ran toward gunfire, rather than away
who dropped everything to save the wounded and comfort survivors
We pray for doctors and nurses and mental health providers
who repair what has been broken
who to try to  bring healing and hope
in the face of the unchecked principalities and powers of violence .
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering and traumatized.

We cry, how long, O Lord?
But the same words echo back, again and again
as if the question comes to us from You— how long, how long, how long…
In the wake of an event that should be impossible to contemplate
but which has become all too common in our experience,
open our eyes, break our hearts,
and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit,
that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace,
where the lion and the lamb may dwell together,
and terror no longer holds sway over our common life.
In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen.

Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus
                    Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance