In the aftermath of the horrific murders that took place Wednesday at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, I have read a number of statements by religious leaders and communal organizations. I wish to share with you the reading that touched me the most. It is adapted from a prayer written by Nancy Taylor, senior minister of Old South Church in Boston and offered on the Facebook page of the United Church of Christ:
A PRAYER FOR EMANUEL AME CHURCH:
Dear "Mother Emanuel"
You, who authored courageous slave rebellions, who suffered and survived wretched bigotry,
burnings and earthquake,
You, you who worshipped underground when black churches were outlawed,
Dear Mother Emanuel, in this day of grievous heartache we wrap you in bands of prayer.
We pour out upon your broken hearts the healing balm of Gilead.
You, whose shepherd has been taken from you,
Whose building has become a tomb,
Whose children are terrified:
We stand with you.
We weep with you.
We rage for you.
We keep vigil with you for your beloved dead.
May God annoint you with healing, furnish you with hope and, one day, some day, mend your broken hearts and wipe the tears from your swollen eyes.
God help us.