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What on Earth Is Happening?

[Jesus] said to [his disciples], “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Luke 11:2

Jesus’s disciples watched Jesus pray and asked him to teach them how to pray. He teaches them prayerful persistence and confidence.

Say, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Early Sunday evening, I read a Facebook post that a shooting had just occurred at the Greenwood Park Mall. The gun violence I fear had come to a familiar place.

Then, my sister texted my family that her husband, son and she had walked by the food court on their way out and saw police cars coming from every which way as they were driving out of the parking lot. Split second decisions about whether to go into one more store or not equaled to three minutes that may have placed them in harm’s way.

We all prayed. Prayers of relief. Gratitude. Now, an eerie feeling has settled in.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

…but what on earth is happening here?

I’ve asked myself this question over and over and over and over again over the last decade or so. Why are humans so disempowered to fix this trifecta of emotional pain, rage and abundance and easy access of weaponry that has pervaded our reality?

How might we join God’s will here on earth? While we can…when we can?

I worry if many people even know how or think to pray. And even if they did, have they lost confidence? Have they lost hope? Because some days, I feel like I have.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…oh good and loving God, Father, Creator, Savior…here on earth, please!

Every day, we are brushing elbows with others. Our eyes meet or dart away from the stranger. We fear the rage. We look for an escape route. But God does not. God dwells on earth through Christ, through you, through others. We must not stop looking and responding and striving for God’s kingdom on earth.

Lord Jesus, not only teach us to pray but to act. Your kingdom and will cannot be this violence. Help us be bearers of your kingdom through thoughtful acts of love for our neighbor. Move our lawmakers toward greater wisdom and action. Comfort those who grieve tremendous loss. Quell the anxieties of witnesses and first responders. Provide emotional support and professional care for those in whom violent thoughts have taken root. Keep us safe when the time of trial comes. Your kingdom come, O God, your kingdom come, for we know not what else to ask.


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