Colorado Front Range

A Prayer Against Violence: An Honest Conversation with God

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Like you I’ve been trying to process the most recent senseless killings in Boulder (and Atlanta). I’ve started several pieces trying to answer questions. 

Denver skyline

“Devil in the Queen City” asked how and why evil so often lives alongside beauty? How could a glorious place like Colorado become one of the most deadly? In the seven tragedies since Columbine in 1993 forty-three people have died and thousands (more?) have been traumatized. 

The daughter of one of my best friends hid in a closet and survived Columbine. I am close with a retired police officer who was one of the first on the campus. The weight he carries is often too easy to see straining his handsome, rugged face. I know few people who have lived on the Front Range long that are not wounded by these attacks. 

But my answers felt flat.

So I read. And there it was. Not an answer but an avenue to pursue. It seems when even Jesus could not find answers he simply called out to the Father. “Why have you forsaken me?” He asked from the cross. It seemed good to me then to do likewise.

I simply shook my pen at God and cried out to him.  

This the result:

O Redeemer:

Our hearts bleed

And eyes flood with grief.

We cry out for justice,

Answers, comfort,

Redemption, and relief.

Bullets once again

Have weaponized 

What we strain

Yet fail to name.

Was it fear, depression, brokenness,

Hate, doubt, blame,

Revenge, racism, sickness, or fame?

Or all these rolled together 

In a bomb-like ball

That detonated in this man

And stole ten innocent lives all.

Grief weighs on grief.

Like layers of skin

We cannot sluff off.

Why, how, what 

Can we do?

Shake our fists at you?

Anger, fear, blame,

And doubt overwhelm us. 

One man wearing a tactical vest 

Covering a tarnished image of you

Violated ten others

Created in your image too.

It makes no sense!

Eric, Denny, Neven, Rikki, 

Tralona, Teri, Kevin, 

Suzanne, Lynn, and Jody.

Their voices, insights,

Questions, peculiarities,

Contributions, tears, seed,

Wisdom, laughter, and need

He tried to erase.

But, God, your memory and love of them

And ours are longer than this shadow 

Of death can reach.

Redeem their loss, God of justice.

Make our backs strong 

To bear this pain

And to move in your power

To keep it from happening again.

How could he believe

Taking life

Is anyway to receive?

And how often do we

Live in that same place?

Hear us, O Lord,

To those near to the ten,

And those not,

Walk beside, before, and after,

Comfort, speak, and listen.

Deliver justice and redemption

Once more

The way you did

That day

You transformed

Death to life, hate to love,

Converting violence 

On a tortuous cross

Into a gleaming symbol

Of forgiveness and grace.

Transform this tragedy

Not only in our souls

But bodily.

Embolden and empower us

To use your love

To tear down hate, despair, and violence.


Guatemala Handmade Crosses    

Pass this prayer along, please!

1 thought on “A Prayer Against Violence: An Honest Conversation with God”

  1. Georgie Ann KETTIG

    yes,… anguish,… our human hearts, made in the “image of God”, truly cannot process this grim aspect of our collective (fallen) “reality”,… perceiving from the time of the “innocence of our childhood”, it is always a challenge to reconcile such stark tragedy with the “goodness of God”, that we can feel radiating towards us, on a bright, warm sunny afternoon, with fluffy clouds floating sweetly by, in a blue Springtime sky,… our hearts recoil, wondering “how could this possibly be?”,… the pain is inconceivable, unbearable,… our hearts cannot process the answer,… it is another aspect of our consciousness that must mature and eventually “learns the answer”,… God didn’t “do” this,… there is a separate and rebellious “enemy” that seeks to indwell God’s precious Creation, and actually is this malignantly evil,… it is indeed a challenge for us all, to learn to “deal with this”,… apparently the “answer” that God offers us is a promise that eventually completely transcends the confines and limits of this “life”,…

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