Religion Unplugged

‘May God heal their little hearts, their little souls’: Prayer and lament in Uvalde

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

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Another week.

Another mass shooting — this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

I lack the words to convey the enormity of this tragedy.

Instead, as we mourn the 19 innocent children and two teachers slain Tuesday, let’s reflect on these expressions of faith and lament:

“We don’t know what to pray. … We just know we’re hurting, and our God hurts with us.” — Zach Young, worship pastor for Crossroads Community Church in San Antonio (via San Antonio Express-News story by Jacob Beltran)

“We’re just trying to encourage each other and trying to get through this.” — John Juhasz, outreach minister for Getty Street Church of Christ in Uvalde (via story by Washington Post team)

“The only way we can fix this country is to get down on our knees and humble ourselves before God. I am here to support this community and to ask God to heal our land.” — Jennifer Fry, mother of two young children, interviewed at a prayer vigil in Uvalde (via story by Wall Street Journal team)

“We may not understand what happened … but we seek the Lord, as best we can.” — Carlos Contreras, minister at Primera Iglesia Bautista (First Baptist Church) in Uvalde (via Texas Tribune story by Erin Douglas and Jason Beeferman)

“Prayer should be where we start, not where we finish. If we were praying genuine prayers about gun violence, we would see a lot more genuine action.” — Taylor Schumann, author of ”When Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough: A Shooting Survivor’s Journey Into the Realities of Gun Violence” (via Religion News Service story by Emily McFarlan Miller)

“The Catholic Church consistently calls for the protection of all life; and these mass shootings are a most pressing life issue on which all in society must act — elected leaders and citizens alike.” — Catholic Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio (via America story by Michael O’Loughlin)

“Enough is enough. We want to stand up for our children. But it’s not just our children experiencing gun violence. It’s adults. It’s everyone.” — the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor for St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri (via Kansas City Star story by Glenn E. Rice and Robert A. Cronkleton)

“Thoughts and prayers can really mean something — if those thoughts and prayers reveal the extent of evil and break our hearts with the love and sorrow of God. In lament and litany, we can discover we have the power to act.” — Christian author Diana Butler Bass (via Deseret News story by Kelsey Dallas)

“Pray for those children that saw what happened to their friends. May God heal their little hearts, their little souls. Pray for each of us as we help them.” — Tony Gruben, pastor at Baptist Temple Church in Uvalde (via story by Austin American-Statesman team)

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

Featured photo by Audrey Jackson

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