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Loving God, we come before you today, so deeply grateful for sunshine after all the rain. We love hearing birds singing to each other, and our souls join in with their chorus praising you, Our Beloved Creator.
But God, we feel those rain storms and clouds still hanging over us, unable to shake the humidity off, just as we are unable to shake off our pains that we carry with us. We still carry the hurt and agony over the Charleston shooting a few years ago, and the Pulse Nightclub shooting a year ago, and it hurts that violence and death continue to make their mark with the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice. O God, this should not be. We mourn with our beloved siblings in Christ, devastated that anger comes at so high a cost. We pray for their families, for those who lost loved ones, and for those who are survivors, who will need your strength to make it through healing and moving through these days, weeks, and months to come.
We pray for our World, O God of the Universe. We pray most especially for your beloved children, the littlest ones who are more in tune with you than we are more often than not. We pray for little Laylah Washington, who was killed in a road rage shooting in Memphis. We are all your children, O God, and you are our beloved parent. You mourn and grieve when any of you children die, be it innocent lives caught in air strikes, to fires in high rise buildings, to the sailors who were killed at sea. You are not a God of death, but one of life, and you move our hearts with compassion, to mourn alongside our siblings in Christ.
We have to trust, O God, that as our tears linger in the nighttime, that joy will come with the morning, that you will provide us with laughter once more. For laughter is so often our greatest medicine, has the power to turn strangers into friends, to turn enemies into family. We are thankful for those who find themselves in a season of laughter, with celebrations of the joy of graduations, of new jobs, and new seasons of life beginning. We pray for our mission team that is being sent to Guatemala, and that laughter would be a binding force to cut through any anxieties and fears.
We are thankful for fathers today—for fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, and those who father in countless ways, from education, to farming, to technology, and most especially our church fathers, both the saints who have gone before us and the saints seated in our midst.