Prayer from the Rainbow Flag Lowering at the Santa Clara County Offices in solidarity with the LGBT community in Orlando.
God of many names and deepest compassion,
We come before you today with broken souls and hearts full of fear as we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Orlando. A sacred place of welcome, acceptance, and love has been desecrated in the false name of righteousness and purity. As we remember the 49 lives lost and let us not let them be forgotten. Each individual was someone who you created and loved and deserving of being loved
As we stand here in this plaza dedicated to peace and justice we recognize that violence and hate is never righteous and that the lack of respect for human life IS a lack of respect for You!
As we gather holding onto each other we recognize that as long as there is hate, as long as our politicians use hate to get elected and our communities use hate to teach prejudice and discrimination, we know that we will not be safe and that the peace we strive for will allude us. We pray that we can learn to recognize and name all hate. That those who have the positions of power can be called to address it wherever it is and stop it in the name of Peace and Justice!
As we stand united many of us are individually crying out in in pain and sorrow. We are left with the questions of why. Why do people think that God could condone violence? Why do people think that a God who created you could want anything but the best for you? Why do people feel justified in targeting LGBT community? Why can’t we all just learn to love and accept each other? And so many others. We pray that we can come to an understanding and use these questions to teach others Justice and Peace.
As we remember the lives lost and think of how we will respond, let us think of the appropriate words of the Christian Apostle Paul 9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:9-16 NRS)
No matter what faith tradition we come from, when we live into love we live into all that you have created us to be. Let us learn to combat hate with love. And let us be kind to one another as we struggle to make sense of your presence in this tragedy. Help us to lift up those who have lost their lives, their families, their friends. Help us to find the ways we need to be a community for them and help us to know how we can make sure that they will NOT be forgotten. And events like this will never happen again.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen