With Hearts Broken

At the base of a street sign, a collection of small candles and flowers to honor victims of a terrorist bombing

Spirit of Life, Source of all,
to this beautiful place
to this hallowed time
and in the midst of this kindred company
we bring hearts broken yet again by senseless violence.

This morning our thoughts are with
all those in Baghdad, Beirut, Lebanon, Paris and beyond
who have been touched by terrorism,
and the millions of refugees, from Syria and so many other places
who have risked everything to flee this kind of violence.

We hold in our hearts
leaders in every nation who are struggling
to discern how to respond to the refugee crisis
and the ever-present reality of terrorism that led to it,
and the millions of peaceful Muslim faithful
who will suffer yet more prejudice,
yet more hate, yet more misunderstanding
because of the actions of violent fundamentalists.

We hold in prayer a world wherein such awful terror has become the new normal,
a world of people whose hearts are in danger of growing numb.

In such times as these it can be hard to find where our gratitude,
where our joy, where our serenity might have fled.
And yet nurturing these three—gratitude, joy, and serenity—is the most powerful resistance we have against terror.

So this morning, we choose to see the goodness in a world fraught also by evil,
we refuse to allow anger and fear to barricade themselves within us,
and we make time and space in our lives and in our hearts to count our blessings and give thanks.

We give thanks for the joy of finding and abiding with this faith community,
for kindnesses, big and small, when we least expect them,
for the coming of the autumn and winter holidays,
and for the endless opportunities life gives us to share our blessings, our wealth, our skills and passions with the world.

Lead us, Great Spirit of Love,
into lives of deeper gratitude,
deeper compassion,
deeper mercy,
deeper peace.

Fill our hearts with a thirst for justice,
a hunger for righteousness,
and help us be those in, with, and through whom
our world is transformed
into the one we hope and pray and dream for.

These and all things we pray for love’s sake.