Excerpts from the prayer service at the Garden Church today for those who were killed Wednesday evening in the Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, South Carolina
O Holy One,
We gather to mourn and lament, to cry out, to shake in the wake of another act of violence, another slew of images of death and brutality, another story of black people and white people, hatred and violence, racism and the cries for a just world.
We gather to lament Lord,
Though part of us wants to move on, run away, brush it off,
We stop and lament.
We come to you and to each other and we lament the nine lives that were violently ended Wednesday evening as they gathered to worship and pray.
We come to you and to each other and we lament acts and systems that further racism and violence, valuing the lives of some more than others.
We come to you and to each other and we lament places where violence and division tear apart families, communities, relationships and places inside each one of us.
We come to you and to each other and we lament the ways we have turned from you and from each other and we confess our need for healing and compassion, renewal and peace.
And to plant in remembrance of those who died and for those who keep living.
As each plant is being planted, we sing together. O Lord hear our prayer, o Lord hear our prayer, as I call come to me, o Lord hear our prayer, o Lord hear our prayer, come and listen to me.
We remember and mourn for:
- Cynthia Hurd, 54, a manager with the Charleston County Public Library system.• Ethel Lance, 70, a retiree who recently worked as a church janitor. • Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, a South Carolina state senator and pastor at the church. • Susie Jackson, 87, a longtime member of the church. • Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, former Charleston County community development director. • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, age unknown, a church pastor, speech therapist and a high school girls’ track coach. • Myra Thompson, 59, a pastor at the church.• Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr., 74, another pastor at the church.
• Tywanza Sanders, 26, a 2014 graduate of Allen University.
We come before you and we offer our prayer of confession and receive your assurance.
Before God, with the people of God,
We confess to our brokenness;
To the ways we wound our lives,
The lives of others,
And the life of the world.
God who forgives us and urges us to forgive others,
We claim Your unending love,
Your continuing call to renewal and change,
And your constant presence with us on the journey.
You are loved.
You are forgiven.
You are never separated from the expansive love of God.
And now, may the One God of Heaven and earth, God of Compassion, God of Justice, God who created and loves all, the God who calls us to move forward in making a more just and compassionate world be with us all. Amen.