This past Sunday our church had a pageant planned, that we went forward with. Mindful that it was an intergenerational service, I carefully crafted a prayer that would address the tragedy in Newtown, but without explaining the context to young ears that might not have heard of events yet. This is what I wrote:
Spirit of Life,
Spirit of Life,
Our hearts are heavy and full, our minds confused and anxious, our spirits burdened and troubled. At times like this, we are grateful to come together in religious community, to hold the hands of those we love, to see the smiles and laughter on the faces of the young, and to recommit ourselves to the work of the world, the task of building love in this community and elsewhere.
We take comfort in the circle of community, and in the stories of helpers and heroes. Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, said, in words that have been shared much recently:
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers, so many caring people in this world."
We give thanks for the helpers and heroes in our world, those who labor to keep us safe and protected—the fire fighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, and, especially, the teachers.
Sure in our knowledge of the goodness of the world, and the inherent goodness of people, the kindness of strangers, the arc of the universe that ever bends towards justice, we rededicate ourselves to our community, we bind ourselves again to love.
Blessed be. Amen.