Grieving with Orlando

The following letter was sent via email to the BelPres Family on June 14, 2016.

Dear BelPres family,

Like all of you, I was saddened and sickened when I got home from church on Sunday and saw the news about the shootings in Orlando. So many victims.  Each one made in the image of God. Each one loved by God. So I want to take a moment to say in this email what we would have said on Sunday had we known all the information we do now.

In times like these Jesus instructs us to grieve, pray, trust, and love as Jesus loved. Grieve with those who are grieving. Pray for the victims, their families, and their communities. And trust that he loves each one of the victims and their families, that he is at work in our world to bring healing, that terror cannot ultimately win because he is love and he is still Lord, which means he will triumph over prejudice and hate. In the words of one of my favorite hymns, “though the wrong seems oft so strong, he is ruler yet.”

It is easy to feel helpless and afraid, but one thing we can do for sure is pray.  So here are some of the prayers I’ve been praying:

Jesus, we mourn with those who are mourning.
Help us to experience their grief with them so they do not grieve alone.
Jesus, we pray for the victims, their families and friends, the LGBTQ community that was singled out in this attack, and for Muslims who will be unfairly associated with the actions of one man.
Please bring your comfort to all of them.
Help them know that you are there and grieving with them.
We also pray that you would protect them, and that you would transform the hatred in our world and in our hearts into your love.
We also ask for the healing of our country and of our world.
May your peace and justice be done here on earth as it is in heaven, and show us how we can help that happen.
Where there is hate, help us to sow love. In your name, amen.

Dr. Scott Dudley