A Prayer of Lament

Christian Theological Seminary issues statements from time to time on current events and situations. In light of the horrific massacre in New Zealand and other extraordinarily painful moments in the life of faith communities in this country and around the world, Interim President Bill Kincaid instead has offered this prayer:

God of the nations,
we know you desire a world where humans treasure one another,
live well together,
and exercise care for the creation around us.

For all the moments when we awaken to your pure and unbounded love,
for all the occasions when we delight in one another,
for every time we bear one another’s burdens,
for discerning conversations that knit us together in promise and purpose,
for heartfelt participation in life-giving causes,
and for a sustaining hope in your new creation,
we thank you and we praise you.

But we are all too aware of the pain and loss
of moments when we turn away from each other,
allowing the beloved community to unravel,
and of occasions when we turn on each other
to startle, assault and destroy.

We confess not just our inability to live well together,
but more embarrassingly and perplexing,
our unwillingness and blatant disinterest in doing so.

We do not honor your divine image in each other,
and in the process we desecrate it in ourselves.

We do not look upon each other’s communities of faith with humility and regard,
recognizing the profound spiritual path that each one represents,
but instead attack, violate and slaughter one another
with rhetoric and schemes and bullets
that make a sham of our own faith’s deepest commitments
and highest aspirations.

We know your heart must be the first to break
when your extravagantly diverse beauty goes unnoticed
and callings, talents and perspectives get dismissed
and communities divide
and insecurity takes up arms
and violence erupts
and fear kills.

We pray for communities of faith under duress
from internal strife
and external distractions and threats.

We pray for shocked and shaken
villages and towns and cities
where life quickly changes
and safety and respect and leisure
may never be assumed again.

O God, speak to us
and let us not harden our hearts,
not to You
and not to each other.
Help us to open our lives in tenderness and care,
in courage and imagination,
in active and constructive engagement,
and in hope of that coming day
when your ways will cover the earth
as the waters cover sea.


Rev. Dr. Bill Kincaid
Interim President and Herald B. Monroe Associate Professor of Leadership and Ministry Studies