As Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and numerous News Feeds around the world filled with the horrors of the Paris attacks, I felt my heart stop once again as I found myself saying: “Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison… Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.” I dropped to my knees in prayer grasping for words as I thought of the many victims, their families, a country who has been attacked and wounded, and those who would be driven to commit such a horrible act.
As I prayed, I heard the words written by Elie Wiesel in Night:
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”
Hearing Wiesel’s reflections on his experiences as a Jew in a Natzi prison camp, I am reminded that in the midst of what feels like chaos and evil, God is with us. God, the creator of love, peace, and justice, journeys with us through these horrific moments. God offers us the courage, strength, and grace we need to continue breathing, moving, and working for a different world.
As I prayed I began to wonder how do we as a faith community respond to such a crisis? How do we have conversations within our families and our congregations? How do we honor the anger and the outrage while praying for and seeking peace in a world where evil seems to run rampant?
As we join together in this hard and holy work my prayer is that the following resources will be a source of comfort and hope. May our prayers and conversations stir in us a desire for a different world. May we hear the call and feel equipped to respond to God’s presence in our lives- offering love, mercy, and healing to a broken world. May we find strength in God and each other as we join together in the hard and holy work of reconciliation, justice, and peace.
Prayer for protection and healing
Prayer for faithful witness and action
Intergenerational Prayer Stations
Responding to Violence
UMC: Supporting Children in a Violent World
UMC: Ways to keep the faith when the world seems wicked
A collection of tributes, condolences and reactions from Muslim scholars and leaders all over the world
Talking with Kids about news, tragedy, and violence
Helping children cope: Tips for talking about tragedy
Helping Children Cope With Tragedy Related Anxiety
How to Help Kids Feel Safe After Tragedy
How To Talk To Kids About Tragedies In The Media
Thanks for prayer references and other suggestions during this time of such tragedy.