A Prayer for Paris (and now for Mali and every place that knows violence)

Meditation by Rev. Diane Rollert, 15 November 2015 and revised November 21, 2015

The aftermath,
the silence,
the fear,
the waiting,
the news that comes flooding into our lives,
the accounts, the accounting,
the numbers we cannot comprehend or tune out.

May our hearts be with Paris,
May our hearts be with every war-torn place
where innocent civilians lose their lives as helpless targets.

A devastated people,
mothers, fathers, children,
friends, colleagues, families waiting for news
of loved ones now gone.
Others anxiously pace hospital corridors
wondering what trauma will remain
if and when the external wounds heal.
Citizens of a city of light,
awake to another day of disbelief and fear.

The city and each country begin to list their dead:
Two sisters celebrating a birthday,
a man walking outside a stadium,
young professionals out for a beer,
journalists and music lovers,
a merchandise manager from a band.
The list will go on.
They will be the silent ones,
gone without warning,
gone without reason.

The psalmist sings,
“I lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help?”

I look for hope in the divine light,
But where is hope found
When love is lost and supplanted by fear and anger?

This is what they want.
Total destruction.
A war to win at any cost,
young pawns in a power game
played by leaders who respect no rules.
How will we respond?
With more destruction and more innocent lives taken?
All of us are caught between the extremes.
For now, we honour the dead,
we mourn the loss of innocence
and the lost sense of security.
We reach across borders
and we stand as witness
that there must be another way forward,
that love must always be stronger than fear.

We hold our own loved ones tight,
we remember to reach out to one another.
Into a time of silence
we hold the cities, the people, the dead,
the dying, the wounded, the fearful,
this sick and sad mourning world in our hearts,
and we pray for something bright
and hopeful to rise out of the devastation.

For now, we have each other,
we have each moment that we breathe,
we have this silence.
May it embrace us,
may it give us the space we need for our tears.
May it bring us the calm wisdom
and comfort that we need.