Comforting God, we awoke this morning to news of the deadliest mass shooting on United States soil in modern history. Once again we are called to prayer and reflection about gun violence and hate crimes.

News: Early in the morning of June 12, 2016, a 29-year-old man, Omar Mateen of Ft. Pierce, Florida, walked into a gay nightclub and opened fire with his assault weapon. 49 people were killed inside the Pulse Club and at least 53 people were injured. The gunman was killed by the police. The authorities are calling this an act of domestic terrorism.

And so we pray this news . . .

O One Who Weeps with Us, we pray that the families and friends of the victims of the Orlando shooting will be comforted. May they know that we, too, are in mourning. May they know that we recognize this is a hate crime against the LGBT community and a tragedy for our whole country. We are grateful by the support pouring into Orlando from around the world.

O God of Truth, help us to look deeply in this moment into the violence in American society and in ourselves. Regardless of what we may learn in the days ahead about the Orlando shooter's beliefs, politics, mental health, and affiliations, remind us that this is just one of many hate crimes perpetuated through gun violence. We confess that there are seeds of violence within each and every one of us. And until our society is able to grapple with the deep illness that runs through us in our propensity to violent acts, automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles must be kept out of our hands.

O God of Change, we pray for strength as we commit our lives to work for gun control in the United States.

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