Dear IFFP Family:
Like each of you, our hearts break at the news of yet another mass shooting just yesterday. From a supermarket in upstate New York to a church in southern California, to now an elementary school in Texas, you may be feeling a range of emotions: devastation, bewilderment, fear, anger, deep sadness, and more. Wherever your thoughts or emotions take you today, we want to let you know that you are not alone. We mourn alongside you and are here for you. In fact, it is times like these when the traditions we hold dear and this interfaith community can be our greatest sources of comfort and direction.
Below we have lovingly compiled some resources for you: prayers, scripture, meditation, and a song. Please feel welcome to lean on particular resources or treat them as one prayer service to do alone or with your families.
In addition, we encourage you to reach out to either of us or the Care Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need someone to talk to or would like to share how you are doing via email.
We are holding you and your families close in our hearts, as well as the communities of the children and adults lost in these terrible acts of violence. We pray that we can do our part to bring about a more peaceful tomorrow.
Reverend Sam and Rabbi Debbie
Reverend Samantha Gonzalez-Block, Rabbi Debbie Reichmann
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
Hashkiveinu – A Prayer for Comfort and Peace
הַשְׁכִּיבֵֽנוּ, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽנוּ, לְשָׁלוֹם, וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ שׁוֹמְרֵֽנוּ לְחַיִּים, וּפְרֹשׂ עָלֵֽנוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶֽךָ
Grant, O God, that we lie down in peace, and raise us up, our Guardian, to life renewed. Spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Guide us with Your good counsel; for Your Name’s sake, be our help. Shield and shelter us beneath the shadow of Your wings. Defend us against enemies, illness, war, famine and sorrow. Distance us from wrongdoing. For You, God, watch over us and deliver us. For You, God, are gracious and merciful. Guard our going and coming, to life and to peace evermore.
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Meditation: Rabbi Debbie
Anyone else tired of words?
Here are some:
Grief overwhelms the soul.
This makes no sense at all
It is not inevitable, it is horrific. It must end.
I mourn this horrific loss
Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence
Lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting
I ask you all of you to join me in praying for our fellow Texans
Propaganda and paranoia have kept us from helping each other on this for too long. We can do – and be – better. The time to act is now.
We hear these words (pulled from politicians’ statements across the political spectrum) ALL THE TIME
We lift up.
We ask for action.
We demand action.
And nothing happens.
We live in a time where the idea of protection of life is a battleground. Arguments and disagreements about vaccines, abortion, gun control, access to health care, and even clean water. We are at war about what constitutes a safe and healthy society, and we are the losers. All of us.
I want change. I want to win. Winning means saving, preserving and supporting people. Winning means putting someone else’s health ahead of profit, pride and partisanship. Winning means creating and maintaining a compassionate society.
I don’t know how. But, I still ask of us:
Let’s win this fight!
Sharing a Song: Rev. Sam
*The song “We Can Be Kind” has always brought me a great deal of strength and hope during difficult moments. I pray that it provides you with a sense of comfort and purpose today.
Lyrics to “We Can Be Kind”
Composer/Lyricist: David Friedman
Performed by: Nancy Lamott
So many things you can’t control
So many hurts that happen everyday
So many heartaches that pierce the soul
So much pain that won’t ever go away
How do we make it better?
How do we make it through?
What can we do when there’s nothing we can do?
We can be kind
We can take care of each other
We can remember that deep down inside
We all need the same thing
And maybe we’ll find
If we are there for each other
That together we’ll weather whatever tomorrow may bring.
Nobody really wants to fight
Nobody really wants to go to war
If everyone wants to make things right
Then what are we always fighting for?
Does nobody want to see it?
Does nobody understand?
The power to heal is right here in our hands.
And it’s not enough to talk about it
Not enough to sing a song
We must walk the walk about it
You and I
Do or die
We’ve got to try to get along
And maybe we’ll find
True peace of mind
If we always remember
We can be kind.