The first words that I have, Lord, are these: Save us from ourselves.
Father, we confess that we are a nation that has lost our way.
We have lost our way morally. We no longer believe that there exists right and wrong action, moral and immoral choice. Instead, we ask questions from the presumptions of our own self-interest. We judge the “rightness” of our behavior with this question alone: “Does it feel good?” And when tragedies like these happen in Colorado, when a man enters a theatre with the intention to maliciously kill the innocent (and when he succeeds), we can’t hep but see how stupidly blind we are. Fools, with the millstone of self-sovereignty around our necks, we are drowning and in need of rescue.
What what it look like if we were a people who heeded your voice, who returned to the words of your command? What would it look like if we simply believed that truth were synonymous with wholeness, goodness with beauty? But the fault does not simply like at the feet of evil people who perpetrate these acts of unspeakable violence. The fault lies with people like me, Father, who could hear a news story like this and feel so distant and disengaged. People like me who fail to pray. People like me who fail to make peace in this world that is splintering at its seams.
People like me who do not proclaim as courageously as is necessary the message of Jesus: Repent.
Father, we are sinners. We have betrayed your good and turned our backs on Your authority. Always it has seemed sweeter to take the forbidden fruit and drink its sweet poison. But have we now had our fill of death? Can You, by Your mercy, grant that we come to our senses and see the cruel implications of self-sovereignty and self-interest? Our oldest stories teach us best: Adam and Evil, Cain and Abel. We are they. Evil is as old as time.
As violence increases in our cities, Your church needs Your wisdom of response. We need to receive from You love that heals and binds up the brokenhearted, grace that tenderly embraces the sinner, truth that calls evil at face value.
As Your people gather for worship across our nation today, call us back to Yourself. Answer our confusion. Remind us of Your faithfulness. Expose the work of the evil one. Teach us this language of love, grace, and truth, which are embodied in the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. He died a violent death, He the innocent for us the guilty. But death was not to have the final victory. He rose from the grave, pronouncing the hope to which we still hold. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We wait for the day to come when You fully claim Your rightful reign, Jesus, over this world. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
And Father, in Your mercy, save us from ourselves.