At least 58 people dead after gunman opens fire on music festival crowd
by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service – October 2, 2017
LOUISVILLE – As details continue to emerge about the deadly shooting that took place in Las Vegas last evening, the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus, director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, has written a prayer to share with the church.
“We pray this day for the Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in its wings, and rain mercy, grace and peace upon our broken people,” the prayer reads in part.
The Las Vegas police department is reporting at least 58 people dead and over 500 people injured following the barrage of automatic weapons fire that was unleashed on the crowd of 22,000 people attending a country music festival. The suspected gunman, Stephen Paddock, fired on the crowd from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Police believe Paddock killed himself before he could be apprehended.
If the death toll is confirmed, it will be the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, surpassing the June 12, 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting that claimed 49 lives.
Presbyterian News Service is currently collecting more information from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, along with related agencies and the Presbytery of Nevada, and will provide an update when available.
Kraus’ prayer is reprinted below in its entirety:
God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
As the sound of gunfire again echoes over another American city,
we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.
As death rained down from above in the dark of night,
We pray this day for the Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in its wings,
and rain mercy, grace and peace upon our broken people.
So many have been lost: brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends
gathered in the unity of music, scattered by evil and hatred.
We pray for solace for all who loved them.
We pray for those who have been spared and those whose lives are changed forever
that they may find healing, sustenance, and strength in the hard days to come.
We give thanks for first responders:
who ran toward gunfire, rather than away
who dropped everything to save the wounded and comfort survivors
We pray for doctors and nurses and mental health providers
who repair what has been broken
who to try to bring healing and hope
in the face of the unchecked principalities and powers of violence .
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering and traumatized.
We cry, how long, O Lord?
But the same words echo back, again and again
as if the question comes to us from You— how long, how long, how long…
In the wake of an event that should be impossible to contemplate
but which has become all too common in our experience,
open our eyes, break our hearts,
and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit,
that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace,
where the lion and the lamb may dwell together,
and terror no longer holds sway over our common life.
In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen.
Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus
Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance