While attending the “March for our Lives” rally at the capitol in Hartford on Saturday I was privileged to join with so many others standing up for justice and action regarding gun violence in our nation. There were many witnesses from CTUCC congregations, both clergy and laypeople who had gathered with the crowd to voice their concerns and offer solutions. While standing with others I noticed that right next to me was Rev. Alice O’Donovan, a longtime leader of the CTUCC. She looked at me at one point during the rally and offered that I should write a prayer of confession which confesses the complicity of older people to not taking action to keep our young people safe. I said to her, “I think you should write that prayer.” She agreed to do so and that prayer is published below. In this week called Holy, let us begin with this confession.
—Rev. Kent Siladi,
A Prayer of Confession For Those of Us Over 21
Gracious, holy, merciful God, in this season of penitence, hear us as we offer our confession unto you. We confess our apathy, our lack of care for our neighbor, our laziness, and our silence.
We have heard the stories of random shootings on our streets.
We have held our tongues.
We all know someone who has lost someone to gun suicide.
We have kept silence.
We have heard the stories of children accidently shooting someone else or themselves.
We have said nothing.
We all know the stories about gun violence and domestic disputes.
We have done nothing.
We list some school community names, Columbine, Colorado; Red Lake, Minnesota; Nickle Mines, Pennsylvania; Blacksburg, Virginia; DeKalb, Illinois; Roseburg, Oregon, Newtown, Connecticut; Marshall County, Kentucky;
yet, still, we have been silent.
We remember other places, Orlando, Las Vegas.
We have held our tongues.
Still they die,
thousands lost to gun violence.
Oh yes, we have prayed our prayers of sympathy, and we confess
we have not written our legislators,
we have not marched,
we have not protested,
we have resisted paying more taxes,
yet supposedly we are the adults.
Now, O God, because we have been silent, more children are dead.
We add Parkland, Florida to the community list.
Now, O God, more families walk the valley of the shadow of death.
But now, O God, their friends are leading the way,
speaking bold truths with courageous, stark, clarity.
Children are leading the way, teaching us, calling us.
Grant to us, the humility and courage to beg their forgiveness;
the love and humanity to put on our shoes and follow their lead;
the stamina and hope to walk with them into
the halls of Congress,
the offices of legislators,
the voting booth just down the street.
The Rev. Alice O' Donovan is a retired UCC pastor and the Windham Association Chaplain for Retired Clergy.
The praying hands image courtesy PublicDomainPictures.net