May 25, 2022

Praying with Hearts Shattered by Brokenness

Dear Friends,

Over the past weeks our nation and our city have endured unspeakable violence in a series of mass shootings targeting teenagers on Chicago Avenue, shoppers at Tops Market, worshipers at Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Hills, and now—God help us—children at Robb Elementary School.

As so many times before, we cry out in despair: when will this end? Far from being numbed, our hearts are shattered by the brokenness that leads over and again to gun-imparted grief—broken trust, broken relationships, broken faith, broken laws, broken institutions. We feel broken by it all. 

But God, as the Source of Life and Healer of all, compels us as a community of faith to prayerfully summon our courage to name and speak out against the evil that propels wanton gun violence, to take action to release its grip on our society, and to care for those who have been victimized.

And so, we pray:

O Spirit,
you are there when the seas of violence erupt;
you are our strength when the world collapses under us.
You enter unspeakable hurt with a holy holding,
wiping away unstoppable tears.

We call out to you, O God.
With broken hearts we hold the shattered lives of our siblings
who, from this day onward, will never be the same.
We commend to your care first responders
who step into harm’s way to stem violence and hurt,
witnessing what we shudder to imagine.

O Christ,
whose love bends the rod of the oppressor
toward the wings of freedom,
bring peace into this moment,
because enough is enough.
Capture our imagination as people of your Holy Way,
that we might step out boldly
to turn swords into plowshares,
to at long last see justice rolling down like an unstoppable river
and peace like a glorious stream. 

Please, O God,
may we never, ever give up our pursuit of peace near and far,
across this vast and wondrous globe,
for each and every person, child, baby, young one,
this day and always.
Through Christ. Amen.

Below you will find some resources for these days, including those from Fourth Church Caring Ministries, as well as an invitation to join the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde in prayer online this evening.

Faithfully,

Lucy Forster-Smith
Senior Associate Pastor

 

Responses and Resources for These Days

An Invitation to Pray with First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde
Wednesday, May 25
6:30 p.m. (Central)
You are invited to join the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde for a prayer service via livestream at facebook.com/firstpresuvalde

 

Talking with Children
The following offer age-appropriate ways to talk with your children about what happened in Uvalde.

Counseling and Caring Ministries Resources
The Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being, located at Fourth Church, offers an oasis for those seeking direction in the midst of chaos, loss, or trauma. To arrange to talk to someone at the Center, please call 312.787.2729, ext. 2260.

 

Stephen Ministry
Grounded in Jesus’ command to love one another and through ongoing one-to-one relationships, Stephen Ministers provide love and care to those who are experiencing challenging times. To learn more, please leave a message on the Stephen Ministry confidential voicemail: 312.573.3365.

 

Requesting Prayer and Praying for One Another
When we pray for each other, we manifest God’s love, a love that creates, sustains, and redeems the relationships we have with one another and with God. In that spirit, Fourth Presbyterian Church offers several forums for prayer to raise up the concerns of all who ask. We would be honored to partner with you in prayer.

To offer your prayer you are invited to

  • Pray with a Deacon in Stone Chapel following the 10:00 a.m. service of worship on Sunday mornings 
  • Submit a request for prayer, to be prayed in Stone Chapel on Sunday or at Morning Prayer during the week, at caringministries@fourthchurch.org
  • Join us for Morning Prayer on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom (email Nancy Benson-Nicol for details) or at 10:00 a.m. in person in Buchanan Chapel.