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I have just heard the news of the shooting of children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  None of us can even begin to imagine the horror and grief that parents and staff are experiencing today.  

It is an ages old story, where children are massacred and parents grieve.

It is even a story of Christmas, heard most often on the Sunday after Christmas, when Herod sends his soldiers into Bethlehem to kill all the male children 3 years of age and younger.

We read in Matthew 2:18

“A cry was heard in Ramah–weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”

To all those who today are grieving an unspeakable horror, and whose pain is so great that it refuses to be comforted I give my deepest understanding, and pray for the deepest comfort of God.  I am sure that I join the people of the United States and from around the world who will grieve for you and with you.  

This is my prayer:

God of love, compassion and grace
You yourself have known the pain of grieving for a child, unjustly murdered
You alone understand the depth of grief and pain of all those whose children, friends, parents, teachers were so senselessly murdered.
You alone are capable of ministering to the pain.
You alone are capable of speaking peace to the grief that will not be consoled.
To you I pray.
Hold in tender arms all those who this day, know life’s deepest sorrow.
Wipe away the tears of all who cry and in tenderness console them.
Surround each parent with the deepest of comfort.
Protect each hurting heart with the consolation of your Spirit.
Fill the empty places with a sense of your presence.
And walk with each one, carrying their pain and guiding their footsteps.

Be present with that whole community and grant all those who come to speak peace and comfort the inspiration of your Spirit that they may say and do what will be most helpful.

Thank you O God, that you hear my prayer, not just in words but in all that fills my heart.  Amen.