During the Christmas/Advent season, one of the members of Augusta Heights Church was asked to offer an opening prayer on Sunday, Dec. 16. This was, of course, two days after the Newtown shootings.
Fortunately, this assignment fell to Mandrallius Robinson, an outstanding writer for The Greenville News and the beat writer for Clemson Tiger basketball/athletics. His skill served him well in this particularly difficult assignment.
This is not the entirety of what was said, but it gives a pretty clear picture:
Heavenly father, we thank you for this day. We thank you for this season. We yearn for the simple beauty of this celebration – for all the familiar traditions that remind us of that great miracle when our savior was revealed as a precious child
Before such mystery, we humbly bow, as we follow the shepherds to bring You the gift of our love – a love we confess has not always been as warm, as sincere or as real as it should be. But now, in this celebration, we pray that our love would find You, and from You, we receive the grace to make it pure again.
As pure as those precious children — whose innocent lives were taken so tragically in Connecticut. Lord, there are families and an entire community searching for answers. Help us refrain from attempting to provide those answers with debate, uninformed explanations and analysis.
We know the only true answer, the only true comfort, the only true healing is in You, Lord. So let us not ask for comprehension, but simply for compassion…….for comfort for those families, and clarity for our own, that we may appreciate every single moment we have with our loved ones.
And we pray, as we celebrate in this service, we may do it in a manner pleasing to You. May all we do and say, every tribute of our hearts, bring honor to Your name, that we, Your people, may remember Your arrival and feel Your presence among us now.
In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
May we all be humble enough to realize that the best answers are usually not our answers; and that we are severely limited in our ability to comprehend or explain so many events in the world.
As inadequate and uncomfortable as it is, we often have to seek comfort without comprehension. Reversing those two is what we often do, and it is quite often to our detriment.