God of Our Healing,
we stare in bewilderment and pain
at the blood-stained sidewalk near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
We hear the panicked cries of those who cannot hear themselves scream
because the bomb blasts still ring in their ears.
We stand completely undone by the suffering that assaults our eyes, our ears and our hearts.
We come before You O God; Source of All Life and Seat of All Wisdom
to help us to make a way where there is no way;
to help us practice resurrection.
And so our hearts cry out: no more hurting people!
Dear God we pray for the victims of this act of evil;
we pray for their frightened and grieving families and friends.
We pray for the strength to be their strength.
We pray for the courage to walk with them in their darkness
until they are able to walk toward the dawn of a new day.
We pray in gratitude for the first responders and Good Samaritans
who ran towards the chaos and into the danger in order to save others.
They represent the best of who we are.
In our grieving we remember that the horror visited upon us in Boston
is all too familiar to innocent people around the world;
from aerial bombings of rural villages to car bombings and suicide bombings
in markets, at schools, weddings and funerals, in religious pilgrimages
and even targeting those who just happen to be standing in line.
So many victims of senseless violence;
hardly noticed by many of us but now brought into clearer focus.
And this is why we must demand: no more hurting people!
We pray for those in government and in law enforcement
as they marshal our resources in response to these evil attacks.
May they be thorough and determined in their investigation;
may they be measured in their response;
and may they be guided by the search for truth, not the blood lust of revenge.
Free us O God from the rule of fear.
Protect us from the peddlers of hatred
and from all those who mistake ignorance for righteousness.
Give us the grace to listen to our better angels not our darkest demons.
Do not let these attacks harden our hearts or dull our capacity for compassion.
Make us wise enough to know the difference between justice and vengeance.
Send forth your Spirit
that we might be moved into solidarity with all who suffer violence.
Send forth your Spirit
to strengthen our resolve to establish a world of true justice
where the weak and vulnerable are protected
and the marginalized and disenfranchised have their dignity preserved.
Help us this day to resolve that this great cost of human life and suffering
will make us better people.
Let our response to this evil act become a clarion call
to double our efforts to build a more perfect union, to establish justice,
to provide for the common defense of everyone on our planet
and to promote the general welfare of all God’s Children.
And so we make as our own, the words of Martin Richard:
No more hurting people! Amen.
* The title of this prayer, “No more hurting people,” is taken from a handmade peace sign written by Martin Richard, an 8-year-old killed in the Boston Marathon bombings.