Deliver Us Not Into the Bitterness of Eternal Death, Again.

We wake and mourn once again. This cycle has seemed to mark our common life together more often than any of us wish it would; the school shootings blend together and that is as offensive to the lives lost as it is to the truth that this should never feel normal.

There will be many things written today about the shooting at Central Michigan University today, a university not unlike our own WKU.  My habit after school and mass shootings has become to pray one of the anthems we seldom use in our funeral services.

In the midst of life we are in death;
from whom can we seek help?
From you alone, O Lord,
who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;
shut not your ears to our prayers,
but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,
do not let the pains of death
turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Buriall II, BCP p.492

It came to my mind because while we are a resurrection people, death, especially mass murder on this level, is not immediately filled with hope. Instead, in times like these, I need to have the heavy refrain of “Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and merciful Savior, deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death” punctuate my fear and my anger. I need to be reminded that in the midst of life, we are in death. I need to be reminded that God not only sits with us in our grief, God is also rightly angered at our sin of failure of caring for each other.

May God have mercy upon on all those whose lives were lost, may light perpetual shine upon them, and may we, as a nation, be willing to do all that we can to stop this sort of mass violence.

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