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A Parent’s Lament for
Gun Violence

How much longer, Lord?
We send our kids to school with smiles and see-ya-laters
But with a weight on our shoulders and heaviness in our hearts
For we know we cannot always, or maybe ever,
Protect our children.

We are angry, God.
Again and again and again, we mourn, and we shout
We share statistics and we try to create new stories
But it feels like no one is listening--and maybe no one ever has.
We watch politicians pontificate
As weapons of war are held higher than the value of a life
Woven and shaped in your image.
When there are no words, catch our tears, receive our wails
And propel those in power to help instead of harm.

We think of Jesus, who cried Jerusalem, Jerusalem
Who ached to cover his people with the wings of a mother hen
Who knew the outstretch of violence all too well.
And we know that ache, God.
That holy, divine anger
Longing with every breath and beat of our chest
To protect our babies from the evil that seeks to kill and destroy.
That aches to dismantle the insidiousness that seeps
Into our systems and our structures
And if we are not careful, our very souls.

For the families who grieve the unfathomable,
For the ones who have survived the unimaginable,
For the teachers and staff who prepare for the unspeakable,
For the children who must process the undefinable
For the hardened hearts of our country's leaders who remain unmovable,
For the parents who weep knowing that gun violence in schools is not unprecedented,
Lord have mercy.

God, we are tired of praying the same prayer.
We have changed diapers and packed backpacks 
Marveling at our babies growth in front of a backdrop of violence.
We have come of age in Columbine
And went to college during Virginia Tech
And watched wombs expand in the atrocities of Newtown.

We are angry. We are tired. How much longer?
Lord, will you hear our prayer?



by Kayla Craig, Liturgies for Parents

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