Almighty God: You are the God who created and sustains life.  It is your breath that animates us.  It is your image that is reflected in the best we human beings do.  It makes no difference the color of the skin, the age of the body, the origin of our heritage for You are the creator of all and You love the whole world.  Thank You for creating us and loving us.

God of grace, even though we are created in your image and are animated by your breath, we are not You.  You are eternal and we are temporal; You have all knowledge and we are extremely limited; You are good, always, and we try to be, most of the time.  Lord, even though we are created in your image we do not have the ability to live in harmony with that image. Even in our best attempts we must confess that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’

Your law commands, “Thou shalt not murder.”  When we choose to rob a person of your breath, with whatever rationalization we may create, we make ourselves into gods, the greatest of all sin.  Certainly this is what happened this weekend in Orlando.  One man, incited by the anger and hatred of many men, determined to take your breath from those who were defenseless, those having a night on the town among friends.  He murdered.

Was it because they were American?  Maybe

Was it because they were gay?  Probably

Was it because he was a radicalized Muslim attempting to create terror?  Maybe

Did it create terror?  Absolutely

Will it immobilize a people?  Probably not

Will it activate a people to work for the common good?

Lord that is what I pray for, that we who call upon your name, we who claim your name, will work for the good of all.  That we will bind ourselves together as we pray for your Kingdom to come.  That we who seek your kingdom will commit ourselves to living your kingdom now by being a light that points the way and salt that heals wounds. That we will not see our commitment as an event but as a process, a lifelong process until You bring this human history to conclusion and your eternal Kingdom is the only Kingdom in which we live.

And so, Lord, in the midst of the suffering from this event, during a time when violence seems to be on the increase and the desire for power and control of others seems to be the primary motivation, we seek your Kingdom and look for that day when it will reign:

A day when the lion will lay down with the lamb.

A day when these former things will have passed away.

A day when there will be no more violence or hatred, no prejudice or bigotry.

A day when the focus of life will no longer be on what I want and what will make me happy, but,

A day that will be focused on You, your kingdom and your will.

Until that day I ask You Lord to comfort those that mourn (once again there are many) and to strength those who are weak.  I ask You to raise up your people to be your presence, and your hope, and your love in the midst of another shooting tragedy in our nation and in your world.

In Jesus name we pray.  Amen