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A LITANY ON THE TRAGEDY OF GUN VIOLENCE*
(Written for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2010)

We celebrate and give thanks for the life and witness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who proclaimed a vision of all people living together, And bore witness to the power of nonviolence,

We gather, to remember his words, his commitment, his life and to rededicate ourselves to addressing the evil of gun violence

which claimed his life

and which continues to plague our country and the world.

Some 30,000 Americans die by guns each year in the United States.

And we grieve.

An average of eighty people is killed by guns every day, including eight children.

And our hearts break.

Guns kill some 1,000 people each day in the developing world.

And we mourn.

An American child is twelve times more likely to die by a gun than are the children who live in all twenty-five industrialized nations combined.

And we weep.

The annual economic cost of gun violence in America is estimated to at least $100 billion. Medical costs, decimated families, the court system, our jails and prisons, and security measures in airports, schools, and public buildings all contribute to this sum.

And sorrow sweeps over us.

Since John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, more Americans have died by gun fire within our own country than American servicemen and women who were killed in all our wars of the 20th century.

And we pray.

Faced with gun violence,

We grieve for those are killed and those whose lives are forever changed; We seek to comfort for those who have lost loved ones; We pray for a change of heart for those who resort to violence.

Faced with gun violence, may we

Educate;

Organize;

Advocate;

And in all the ways we can, work for that day when Guns and weapons of destruction Are transformed into instruments of healing.

May it be so.

 May we so do.

Written by the Rev. W. Mark Koenig,

Coordinator, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
Presbyterian Peacemaking Program  Compassion, Peace and Justice  General Assembly Mission Council
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)  Louisville, KY
www.pcusa.org/peacemaking

*The original document may be found HERE

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(for a downloadable bulletin insert for this litany, click HERE)

Voice of a leader says:  From words and deeds that provoke discord, prejudice and hatred,

Congregation replies:    O God, deliver us.

Leader: From suspicions and fears that stand in the way of reconciliation,

Response: O God, deliver us.

Leader: From believing and speaking lies about other peoples or nations,

Response: God, deliver us.

Leader: From cruel indifference to the cries of the hungry and homeless,

Response: O God, deliver us.

Leader: From all that prevents us from fulfilling your promise of peace,

All: O God, deliver us.

Leader: Deliver us from our brokenness, we pray, O God,

All: and by your grace and healing presence deliver us to You …

Leader: To still waters and green pastures,

All: O Creating God, deliver us.

Leader: To the freedom and forgiveness we find in you,

All: O Risen Christ, deliver us.

Leader: To the tough task of loving our enemies,

All: O Jesus, deliver us.

Leader: To joyful service in your name,

All: O Servant of All, deliver us.

Leader: To the promise of a new heaven and a new earth,

To the wholeness of justice,

To the power of your peace,

All: O Holy Spirit, deliver us now and in the days to come.

Closing Prayer

Charge our lives and our churches with the power of your peace, O God. Overcome our fears and self-deceptions with the promise of your presence. Make us signs of your generosity and justice. Light us each day with hope, we pray, so that we may walk in your truth and be love in your Name. Amen.

 

 

Note: “The Power and Promise of Peace” was written as part of the World Council of Churches’ “Decade to Overcome Violence” (2000 – 2010).  To download a bulletin insert for use with your congregation, click HERE.

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