Violence and hate crime has been in the news again – a devastating shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and then the shooting of MP Jo Cox. On Friday, at the Wellington Road Hounslow mosque, I heard our MP Ruth Cadbury speak movingly about her friend and colleague Jo Cox, terribly murdered while serving her constituency. And this week all eyes are on Europe, as we vote in the EU referendum and the football tournament rumbles on accompanied by yet more violence.
How can we pray? Every Sunday we pray ‘Your kingdom come’ in the Lord’s Prayer. This is both a heartfelt note of thanks to God when we glimpse justice, mercy and peace come into our lives in fractions, and is also a cry of lament when we long for more of these things. We also pray ‘Forgive us our sins’ as we remember that our own lives are not as full of love of God, or love of others different to us, as we would hope. The following prayer is adapted from a prayer written this week by Rev Sally Hitchener, a chaplain at Brunel University in Uxbridge, whose ministry brings her into frequent contact with young people from the LGBT community.
We pray for those directly affected by violence: the grieving, the injured, both physically and mentally; For those indirectly affected by violence: the fearful, the vulnerable, the marginalised, the elderly, those in public life, for young people and their parents who worry; For those in the emergency services who courageously run towards mayhem, and not away from it – and who continue to care for those in need; For those in government and the public services as they respond – and those who work to limit public access to firearms and weapons; For those who fuel fear, hatred, homophobia and islamophobia in an already dark world – and even for those who commit and incite crimes of violence, that all may come to know God and God’s love for all humanity.