Feeling the heaviness and deep sadness for the loss of eight lives in Atlanta and now- 10 people in Boulder, I sit here with my tears. As these 18 people started their day, did they think about their safety? Or did they begin that day focused on the work that needed to be done, the care for their children and family and thoughts of what would come next — dinner, school, maybe even looking ahead to plan for time to safely leave home and relax — finally, the way days normally begin.
None of these people were able to experience the life they may have hoped and planned for. These tragic deaths have created holes in the fabric of our lives as community. We feel this loss and struggle to make sense out of what has happened.
When words cannot suffice, I turn to music. The words and melody often allow emotions to surface that my logical brain struggles to release.
This video was recorded soon after the shooting at Mother Emmanuel AME Church, Charleston SC in 2015. It was this evening’s music that allowed my grief to finally rise.
In honor of all who died in Atlanta and Boulder, I share this with you.
- Soon Chung Park
- Hyun Jung Grant
- Suncha Kim
- Yong Yue
- Delaina Ashley Yaun
- Paul Andre Michels
- Xiaojie Tan
- Daoyou Feng
- Denny Stong
- Neven Stanisic
- Rikki Olds
- Tralona Bartkowiak
- Suzanne Fountain
- Teri Leiker
- Ofc. Eric Talley
- Kevin Mahoney
- Lynn Murray
- Jody Waters
Wherever there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. RUMI
My heart breaks as I watch whole countries crumble in the wake of hatred, unimaginable violence and destruction. I do not understand and feel small as I try to think about solutions.
Cradling loaves of bread, this man weeps. Tears that could be for all that has been lost or tears that could be gratitude for the bread that he holds. Bread he may be unable to provide as before – before his world became the battleground of dangerous egos and heartless acts. In this picture we can only see a small bit of what his loss may include. A bombed out building – was it home, his children’s school, the hospital which had been caring for his loved ones? Whatever this building had been, its shelter is only a memory now.
And so we meet a balance of opposites – ruins and treasure. Unable to hold back the grief rising from his heart, this man walks ahead with food for the journey. He carries a treasure – simple yet basic. The ruins surrounding him are overwhelming. Captured in this picture is the image of what was and movement toward what will be.
I have always believed that phoenixes rise from ashes, whatever those ashes may be. Believing this requires that I, too, must hold a balance of opposites. It is impossible to reach out to thousands of people displaced and homeless. When a scene such as this refugee camp is presented in the news, I am reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa – “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Today I toss my first stone across the waters through prayer. With this man’s picture before me, I offer prayers for all people displaced by war as they search for peace, safety and a place to call home .
A Prayer for the Victims of the Syrian Conflict
We pray for those damaged by the fighting in Syria.
To the wounded and injured:
Come Lord Jesus.
To the terrified who are living in shock:
Come Lord Jesus
To the hungry and homeless, refugee and exile:
Come Lord Jesus
To those bringing humanitarian aid:
Give protection Lord Jesus
To those administering medical assistance:
Give protection Lord Jesus.
To those offering counsel and care:
Give protection Lord Jesus.
For all making the sacrifice of love:
Give the strength of your Spirit
and the joy of your comfort.
In the hope of Christ we pray. Amen.
Another moment when the world feels so small. We watch as the people of Nepal walk the rubble-filled streets in awe and shock. We pray as they move swiftly searching for survivors who are tramped beneath the layers of stone and brick. We grieve the lives lost and those fragile from injury.
Our hearts ache for this sacred land and these beautiful people. What can we do to help as we watch these events unfold? If money can be sent, I share this international fund suggested by Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Global Giving- Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund
Financial or physical action is not always possible. May we use the energy from our longing to act for prayers and meditation, sitting in solidarity.
The prayer below is offered by the Reverend Lisa Fishbeck:
Prayers for the people of Nepal this night. May they know peace in their fear, comfort in their sorrow, care in their need. May they know courage and love.
Photo taken by UNICEF