I began my day like all others. On my screened-in porch, well before dawn, strong cup of coffee in hand. Nomatter what time the sun rises, I enjoy getting up an hour before it does. During that time I give thanks for everything given so that I have the privilege to awaken to face another day. I take time to orient myself as much as I can so that I am standing "at the cross". I seek to be willing to face human suffering (including my own) and proclaim hope in Christ and the peace the passes all understanding.
That did occur this morning.
But the balance eluded me the minute I logged on to my computer and read about the tragedy in Aurora Colorado. In less time than it takes to inhale I found myself exhaling words of intercession: Oh My God, Have Mercy! Be with those who were there. Be with the injured. Be with the friends and families of the victims. Be with the officers of Law and Order. And be with James Holmes.
The temptation is to fall immediately into blame. Another temptation is to cower in fear. Another is to deny the way this kind of event jolts the emotional, psychological and spiritual ground on which we stand.
I suppose over time we will be able to think more clearly about how and what to think about this event. But for now, perhaps the most authentic thing to do is to let our feelings vibrate at the heart of our prayer.
Each of us has feelings in response to this event. How do those feelings translate into prayers lifted to God? They may or may not be intelligible words. The prayer may be tears, sighs or knitted brows of astonishment, or clenched fists and jaws of rage.
However we pray, let's do it. All prayers express our inability to make our way through human suffering on our own. All prayers also express our hope and our trust that nothing, absolutely nothing (even this!) can separate us from the love of God in Christ!