In the wake of the shooting tragedy in Orlando and attack on LBGTQI community (June 2016) – on the 163rd day of 2016, the 173rd mass shooting of the year in the USA:
Gracious God, our tears are exhausted. Yet we weep again for the dead and injured. This time in Orlando. How long, O God, must we weep for slaughtered children so numerous that we no longer remember a time when we didn’t weep? Embrace us who mourn as we wipe our tears on your soaked shoulder. Shine your light on those whose only companions are fear and anger. As we step from this sanctuary give us the strength to live out the justice that is your desire. We turn our eyes to your mercy in this time of confusion and mounting loss. God in your mercy, …
(from a Facebook post by Steven Chapman)
As we hold in prayer the now 50+ lives that were taken in the tragic shooting in Orlando, and those who loved them, we remember the ways in which our society and our church encourage violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people, especially those who are also people of color. We pray to God for an end to violence against all who are marginalized and we remember that the same God we pray to is also the one who calls each of us to be involved in the work of creating a more just church and world. May the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer be spoken this morning in every pulpit and may every pastor preach what is true: they are beloved people of God. (Facebook post, Reconciling Ministries Network)
Let speeches fall silent – a hymn after the Orlando massacre.
This hymn may be freely used through July 31, 2016.
Music – click here for two options.
Let speeches fall silent and platitudes cease
from hawkers of violence they brand as “peace.”
Let people who suffer find places to speak,
and holders of power give way to the weak.
Let teachers of hatred, suspicion, and fear,
and those who would kill for the views they hold dear,
be turned from their ways and disarmed of their wrath
to walk on a new, more compassionate path.
Forgive us the times we neglected to act;
forgive our excuses for courage we lacked.
God, teach us the wisdom that leads us to grace:
your image is found in our enemy’s face.
Adam M. L. Tice, June 15, 2016
©2016 GIA Publications, Inc.
And this new hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, in response to the Orlando tragedy
To a Place of Celebration
EBENEZER 126.96.36.199 D (“Why Do Nations Rage Together”)
To a place of celebration filled with laughter, dancing, joy,
Came such violent devastation— one man’s efforts to destroy.
God, we grieve for loved ones taken; we lament, “What can we do?”
Now, we’re feeling lost and shaken; heal our nation! Make us new!
Weapons kill— and so does silence; hear our prayer as we confess:
We have given in to violence, we have bowed to hopelessness.
God, we’ve lost our sense of vision of a world where there will be
Plowshares made from violent weapons, justice in society.
Give our leaders strength for action, give them minds to mend our flaws,
Give them courage and compassion and the will to change our laws.
May we work for legislation that will curb guns’ awful toll.
God, renew our dedication to a world that’s just and whole.
Give us love to change our vision; give us love to cast out fear.
Give us love to speak with wisdom— love to work for justice here.
Give us love to welcome difference— love no hatred can destroy.
Only love can stop the violence; only love will bring back joy.
Biblical References: Isaiah 4:2; 1 John 4:18; James 3:1-12; Micah 6:8; Matthew 25:35
Tune: Thomas John Williams, 1890.
Alternative Tune: BEACH SPRING
Text: Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com
See sheet music here.
Natalie Sims has created a page on Singing from the Lectionary, with songs to lament the deaths in Orlando, and to gather songs that celebrate and seek the inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church. Thanks, Nat!
This one by John Bell, There is a Place, written after Dunblane tragedy but seems appropriate for Orlando.
There is a place prepared for little children
Those we once lived for, those we deeply mourn,
Those who from play, from learning and from laughter
Cruelly were torn.
There is a place where hands which held ours tightly
Now are released beyond all hurt and fear
Healed by that love which also feels our sorrow
Tear after tear.
There is a place where all the lost potential
Yields its full promise, finds its lost intent;
Silenced no more, young voices echo freely
As they were meant.
There is a place where God will hear our questions,
Suffer our anger, share our speechless grief.
Gently repair the innocence of loving
And of belief.
Jesus, who bids us to be like little children
Shields those our arms are yearning to embrace,
God will ensure that all are reunited;
There is a place.
Praying with Psalm 42
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
We cry out with those who long for justice,
who long to know your mercy and your comfort,
who yearn for a place of safety and belonging.
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”
We hollow out a space in our hearts for those
who are wounded by our words, our actions and inaction.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
We mourn in solidarity and cry out in anger
with those who suffer persecution and bigotry.
By day the Lord commands steadfast love,
and at night God’s song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
We give thanks for your love that prevails,
that lives on in the hearts of the faithful,
and we repent of our closed and stony hearts.
I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?”
We acknowledge the gifts of those who are oppressed,
the beauty we have cast away from us.
Hope in God; for I shall again praise the Holy One,
my help and my God.
You give us the faith do justice;
you give us hope in your grace;
you give us love that we may love
on earth as in heaven. Amen.