June 12, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
It is with deep anguish and pain that I share this pastoral letter and prayer with you. Like many of you, I am anguished and pained to learn of the horrific tragedy of the shooting in Orlando, Fla. As people were enjoying music and camaraderie at a gay nightclub, they were gunned down without warning.
The deep irony is that gay nightclubs are supposed to be places of refuge and welcome for our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters; instead, this became a place of terror and death.
These were the precious children of God, created in God’s own image, causing harm to no one. We cannot fathom the heartache and despair of their families as they have received this news of having lost a loved one or the anguish of those who sit with loved ones injured in this shooting.
This comes on the heels of the shooting death of Raekwon Brown outside of the Jeremiah E. Burke School in Dorchester, and almost a year after the shooting at Mother Bethel AME Church in Charleston, SC.
In times like these we do not know what to say or how to say it. And yet, we must be present for and with one another as we individually and corporately grieve.
I turn to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 46:1 who wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
As we are able, may we comfort one another, but may we also intentionally seek to comfort our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual brothers and sisters. May we also continue to pray for our first responders and others as they selflessly minister in their communities.
As a nation, may we continue to be a beacon of light and hope to all her citizens. As the church, may we resemble Christ, and take the road that Christ offered of love, grace, and mercy.
I share the prayer below with you so that you may offer it in your prayer and worship services. It is my hope that you find it helpful in this time of trial.
Your brother in Christ,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
A prayer for the victims of the shooting at the
Pulse Night Club in Orlando, FL
Lord, our Lord, once again our hearts break as the blood of the innocents is shed at the altar of hatred and ignorance.
Lord, our Lord, families are shattered and loved ones sit dazed in grief and mourning.
Lord, our Lord, a city is in disbelief as the smoke of gunfire and the stench of death once again wafts through its streets.
How long, O Lord, how long must we suffer under the weight of violence and intolerance and terror?
God we turn to you because you are our Rock and our Deliverer.
You are the God of all comfort and strength.
Surround all who are affected by this unspeakable tragedy,
and pour out your healing spirit upon them.
Let your presence be as a garment of reassuring comfort and abiding grace.
May we never become numb to the senseless taking of life.
May we never cease to feel righteous indignation at the indifference to all human worth.
May we never stop working for justice, equality, peace, and understanding.
May we reach out to our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and asexual brothers and sisters in solidarity and love.
We offer this prayer in the name of our Triune God, in whose image and likeness we are all created.