A Prayer

Today, we share Lee Camp's prayer, offered on September 11, 2001 during a chapel service at Lipscomb University. Holy God, God who executes justice, who vindicates the righteous and vanquishes evil, hear our prayer. O Lord, you who have revealed yourself most fully in this one Jesus who called us to love our enemies, who called us to turn the other cheek, hear our prayer and bequest for guidance, discernment, and holiness of life.

We grieve, Lord, over the very senseless and stupid and cowardly and vicious destruction of life this day. The tears of the thousands of husbands and wives and mothers and fathers and sisters and friends and children who have today lost their own parents and friends and siblings and sons and daughters and husbands and wives, this immense load of grief and mourning and wailing we bring before you. We lament Lord, that such irrational violence has reigned this day; we ask Lord, why you allow such things to go on, why you permit such hatred and spinelessness and malice to rule on earth, when the Lord of Lords has been raised from the dead? Why, after the resurrection, do the forces of death appear to win battle after battle? Why, when the one who was love incarnate, crucified, yet raised victorious, why the many centuries of ongoing slaughter, ongoing hatred? Why the continuation of an endless battle of eye for eye, tooth for tooth, limb for limb, life for life?

We pray, Lord, for whoever has perpetuated this heinous act of mass murder. It is the desire of those unredeemed parts of our souls that these people would be destroyed. We desire to hate them, and we desire to abuse them, and we desire to do to them what they have done to others. The love to which you call us is beyond our power; if it is a love that is to be in our lives this day, you must grant it through the power of your Spirit, for it is not in us to love in this way.

Keep us Lord, from being drawn into the way of the Kingdoms of this world. Remind us today that our identity is found in Christ, and Christ alone. Help us to seek to understand and enter into the pain of all peoples, regardless of nationality or creed or religion, regardless of skin color or ethnicity. Help us to speak as ambassadors of Christ, as ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation to which you called us in our baptism, as ambassadors of the weak and lowly Christ who was crucified for the sins of the world, for the sins of this day; and grant that we might not crucify him afresh, through our own sins, our own hatred, our own enmity.

Grant that your kingdom may come in its fullness, that darkness may be fully vanquished, that light may shine.

Lee C. Camp, Professor of Theology & Ethics at Lipscomb University, in Nashville, Tennessee, is the host of WWW.TOKENSSHOW.COM and the Dispatches from the Buckle Podcast, and the author of WHO IS MY ENEMY?