This is my prayerful response to the bombing at the Boston Marathon based on the lectionary readings for the week. If you are looking for a reflection on Psalm 23, click here.
Ever-living God, in days of tragedy and heartbreak, we give you thanks for all the signs of new life around us. The cold days of winter are behind us and the warm days of spring surround us. When anger, fear, and sadness threaten to overwhelm us, open our eyes to the world coming to life everywhere we look. Just as Peter called Tabitha from death to life in your name, you call us from despair to hope. You made us a people of resurrection; lead us into new life now.
Shepherding God, many of us walk in valleys of death; let us walk without fear trusting you to guide us to still waters. We lift up to you all those who suffer in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. But we do not forget all the places in the world where bombs are frequent – Syria, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, and so many other countries around the world. Guard our hearts and spirits from those who would have us live in terror.
God of mercy and grace, we come to you with much on our hearts and minds. We often feel overwhelmed with the state of our world. We focus on the bad news hearing only the awful things. We mourn with those who grieve the loss of life, limb, or innocence from Monday’s bombing. We cry with those whose lives and homes have been destroyed by earthquake in Iran and Pakistan. We echo the fears of flu in China. We wonder at the failure of Congress to vote with their constituents. And there are the personal tragedies – struggles with cancer, addictions, or illness or worries over finances or relationships with loved ones… You know what burdens us and what we are reluctant to let go of. Remind us that your mercy extends to all of us and all those in need. Hear the cries of your people and let us rest in your strong arms.
God who turns mourning to dancing, lead us in the steps of your dance. We long to hear the songs of joy that you would have our hearts sing. You are with the heartbroken and the hopeless bringing healing and promise. Take the heaviness from our hearts and let us sing your praise out loud. You have been with us through every tragedy, every heart break, every act of terrorism, every loss and you are with us now. You embody life and hope. Death and darkness and destruction have no power over you. We stand with you in resurrection light confident that you will wipe every tear from our eyes. Let us dance with you.
God who loves all creation, hear our gratitude for the blessings of this earth. No matter where we are, who we are, what we have done or not done, you shower us with your love. May our lives be filled with love for you and one another. May our acts of grace, hospitality, and forgiveness not be limited to times of tragedy but become our way of living in this world. Let us be gracious stewards of all that you have given to us. Let us live in the fullness of life, rejoicing in the Good News of Resurrection. We are an Easter people and we are your body. May we be reflections of your glory.
Hear the prayers of your people. In Christ’s name. Amen.
RCL – Fourth Sunday of Easter – April 21, 2013