When words escape us and we feel paralyzed by shock, fatigue, anger and grief, we turn to the ancient prayers of God’s people.
Let us pray.
O Lord, you God of vengeance,
you God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
give to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the stranger,
they murder the orphan,
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”
Understand, O dullest of the people;
fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations,
he who teaches knowledge to humankind,
does he not chastise?
The Lord knows our thoughts,
that they are but an empty breath.
Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
giving them respite from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who contrive mischief by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous,
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will repay them for their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.
Let us be clear. The wicked are the ones who are saturated in hate, and who are consumed with a selfish indifference toward the sanctity of life.
God of love and justice, we pray: "Rise up! God of vengeance, shine forth!"
Rise up for us against the wicked, oh God. And may we have the strength of heart to rise up with you. Amen.