Never Again: A Liturgy to End Mass Shootings
*Photo of RAW Tools plow taken from Red Letter Christians Dallas Revival, Nov. 2018.
(Consider having a demonstration of weapons being beaten into tools or art while the litany is read. Ask the one doing so to keep the rhythm of a heartbeat.)
ONE: God, what do we say . . .
We are heartbroken and afraid.
We feel exposed and unheard.
We battle against rulers, against authorities, against the powers and principalities that wish to turn our swords into automated assault rifles rather than gardening tools.
All: This is not your kingdom come. This is hell.
One: We ring out our souls at the thought of having to speak aloud another name of someone lost to gun violence. But we will not allow them to soon be forgotten–these names that God knew as they formed in the womb, these names of those whose hairs were counted.
All: *Voice the names of those lost recently or in the past.*
One: Come, Lord Jesus, we need you. Help us be parable-tellers, relationship-builders, truth-translators, peace warriors in a realm where polarized political arguments keep us from having eyes to see and ears to hear the trauma that our children face.
All: Veil-tearer, rip wide the cloth that keeps us from moving forward.
One: Hear our plea . . .
All: Never again.
One: Hear our weeping . . .
All: Never again.
One: Hear our anger . . .
All: Never again! Never again! Never again!
One: We rebuke the systems that we have built which have allowed for such atrocities–systems constructed by toxic masculinity, and white supremacy, and xenophobia, and homophobia, and dangerous nationalism.We rebuke the world we have built that so faithfully serves the fear of the loss of power rather than the reality of the loss of life.
All: We confess that we have added to this mountain. That it did not form by itself or overnight.
One: Forgive me.
All: Forgive us.
One: Free me.
All: Free us.
One: Now we tell it to move!
All: Move! Throw yourself into the sea!
One: In the name of the Christ who turned death around, who made his enemies his family,
All: We say, never again.
One: And make us the answers to our prayers. Through our votes, our conversations, our listening ears and raised voices, our protests and signatures, our wild creativity to think outside of the box for how we move on from here and how we might communicate clearly, relationally, effectively why it’s so needed.
All: How beautiful are the hands and feet that bring Good News.
One: Never again, God. We beg that you will lead your people, called by your name, to humble ourselves and pray. To seek your face regarding gun violence, to turn from our wicked ways. That you may hear from heaven and heal our land. That we may never again experience or fear another mass shooting. That we may never again have to utter this prayer.
All: Never, ever again.