The people of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, SC, are in our thoughts and prayers following the recent tragic shooting of nine members of that congregation while they attended a Bible study. Most of us probably have a jumble of feelings and responses: We lament the violent and senseless deaths of those who lost their lives, and pray for comfort and strength for survivors. We are appalled at the hate and racism that led the shooter to commit this horrible deed, and we long for justice and healing for human brokenness and dysfunction. We protest the easy access to guns that made possible such destruction of life, and acknowledge our own complicity in systems of violence and racism. And, we are moved by the deep faith, expressions of love and reconciliation, and proclamation of God’s presence that has been evident in the congregation at Emmanuel AME. May we stand in solidarity with these sisters and brothers in Christ, as we find our own ways to lament suffering and death, bring healing where there is hate, protest weapons of violence, and bear witness to God’s justice, love, and reconciliation in a hurting world.
As a prayer for this week, I offer an adapted version of the prayer of confession for this week from the discernment guide for delegates to Mennonite Church USA convention:
God, you know both our outer actions and inner motives, our frailty and faults. Our confession is not to add to your knowledge, but a way for us to be honest with ourselves. It is also a means to receive forgiveness and restoration in our communion with you and those around us. So, forgive us our sins and restore us to a right relationship with you, with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with our neighbors. For the sake of our wholeness, the healing of the church, and the liberation of the world we pray. Amen.
– Heidi Regier Kreider
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