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Prayer in the aftermath of hate

Words of grief and consolation after a deadly attack on the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.
By Stephen M. Shick

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Knoxville UU Church sign

The church sign of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville was transformed into a memorial after two people were killed in a shooting Sunday morning, July 27. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Spirit of Life, God of our broken hearts, the calm of summer has been shattered by shards of violence borne on a whirlwind of hate. Penetrating sanctuary walls, they took the lives of two faithful friends and wounded others. Now we, who live far away, breathe in the still empty air of shock and loss.

Passing quickly, in an eternity of terror-filled moments, the whirlwind has scattered our sense of order. Children singing ran in fear. Adults, gathering courage, stopped the carnage. Terror passed quickly that Sabbath morning, ripping us open, exposing a deep loveless darkness that can rest in the human soul.

We wait now and pray that our eyes, having adjusted to this unwelcome darkness, will begin to see what needs to be done, what comfort needs to be given, what courage needs to be collected, what hope needs to be spoken.

May it be so.

See sidebar for links to related resources, including UU World’s coverage of the Sunday, July 27, shootings at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, which killed two.

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