Columbine, Again and Again

In memoriam for those who lost their lives at Michigan State University, and to all who were wounded physically or emotionally, I’ve added the school to “A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13.” Here is a three-prayer liturgy also including “After Uvalde: The Court of the Innocent” and “After a Deadly Rampage.”

A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13
A dream of Columbine High School,
When the U.S. was beset by guns.
Red with blood,
A dream of Thurston High, Red Lake High, Virginia Tech, and Michigan State University,
Wet with tears,
A nightmare of Sandy Hook and Robb Elementary.
A lament of guns and death,
At NIU, Marshall County High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Santa Fe High and Saugus High.
Crying out
With so many others,
Too many dead,
So many wounded and scarred.
Crying out,
O Columbine!
How long? How long? How long?

After Uvalde: The Court of the Innocent
The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Is twenty-one souls larger today.
Two adults and nineteen children shot dead.
They bring their blood as evidence against us,
As evidence of our failure to protect them
And the impotence of our rage.

The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Have stopped listening to our speeches.
They no longer say ‘amen’ to our prayers.
They have turned their backs to us,
As we have turned our backs to them.

The court of the innocent
At the gates of heaven
Minister to the souls of the newly murdered,
They minister to those cut down
By guns and violence,
By politics and inaction,
Tending to these recent companions in death,
Consoling their lifeless hearts.

After a Deadly Rampage
Author of life
Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under Your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of the massacre
At Michigan State University,
Whose lives were cut off by violence,
A rampage of aggression beyond understanding.
Their hopes were severed.
Their dreams were lost to brutality.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
May they rest in peace.

G-d of justice and mercy,
Remember, too, the survivors of this attack,
Witnesses of shock, horror and dismay.
Ease their suffering and release their trauma
So that they recover lives of joy and wonder.
Grant them Your shelter and solace,
Blessing and renewal.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
And courage to heal.

Remember the families and friends
Of the dead and the wounded.
With comfort and consolation.
Grant them Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing.
May they find hope and renewal.

Heavenly Guide,
Source of love and shelter,
Put an end to anger, hatred and fear
And lead us to a time when
No one will suffer at the hand of another,
Speedily, in our day.

© 2012, 2022, and 2023 Alden Solovy and

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Postscript: See also “Against Gun Violence.”

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

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Photo Source: Bridge Michigan


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