Gratitude 13 – Together

Tonight, I read the news about the attacks in Paris. I am saddened, horrified, and heart-broken over the evil that we have witnessed in Paris. At the same time, it was the first night back for our oldest children from their days away at school and so 4 of the 5 of us are together. It sounds a bit cliche, but there’s truth to the statement that at times like this we need to hug those closest to us. I just wish I was able to hug my wife as well tonight in addition to our children. So, in the midst of the horrors that we have witnessed in Paris, I am grateful tonight for being able to hold my children and to be able to hold my wife tomorrow. I grieve for the mothers and fathers, the parents and children, who will be unable to hold their loved ones because of the evil acts of others. There is nothing wrong with being grateful in the midst of this, but we cannot forget those who grieve this night and in the time ahead. In closing, I want to share a prayer posted by the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Office tonight.

From Presbyterian Disaster Assistance…
In heartbroken prayer with our neighbors in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad

CALL TO PRAYER AFTER TERROR ATTACKS in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad
November 13, 2015

God of mercy, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
in the midst of unfolding violence and the aftermath of terror and loss,
we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.

In these days of fearful danger and division, we need to believe somehow that your kindom of peace in which all nations and tribes and languages dwell together in peace is still a possibility.
Give us hope and courage that we may not yield our humanity to fear.., even in these endless days of dwelling in the valley of the shadow of death.

We pray for neighbors in Paris, in Beirut, in Baghdad, who, in the midst of the grace of ordinary life–while at work, or at play, have been violently assaulted, their lives cut off without mercy.

We are hostages of fear, caught in an escalating cycle of violence whose end can not be seen.

We open our hearts in anger, sorrow and hope: that those who have been spared as well as those whose lives are changed forever may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the days of recovery and reflection that come. We give thanks for strangers who comfort the wounded and who welcome stranded strangers,for first responders who run toward the sound of gunfire and into the smoke and fire of bombing sites.

Once again, Holy One, we cry, how long, O Lord? We seek forgiveness for the ways in which we have tolerated enmity and endured cultures of violence with weary resignation. We grieve the continued erosion of the fabric of our common life, the reality of fear that warps the common good. We pray in grief, remembering the lives that have been lost and maimed, in body or spirit.

We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among global and national agencies and individuals assessing threat and directing relief efforts; and for our anger and sorrow to unite in service to the establishment of a reign of peace, where the lion and the lamb may dwell together, and terror will not hold sway over our common life.

In these days of shock and sorrow, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.
In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen.

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

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