Oh God, who hears the cries of your children, on this Ash Wednesday we remember that we are dust, and unto dust we shall return.


But not this way, Holy One, not now.  It is far too soon to watch even one more child go down to the dust, let alone so many. These your children, their lives ended by another unspeakable act of violence, deserved our care, our protection, our joyful witness as we watched them grow into the fullness of adulthood. But we have failed. We have not kept our schools safe and our children free from terror. We have not found a way to stem this rising flood of gun violence.  


Oh Christ who said, let the children come to me and do not hinder them, comfort these lost and wounded ones, shelter them and their grieving families under the shadow of your wings.

Help us to find the way to free our children from fear that hinders their ability to grow, to thrive.

Walk alongside families and friends who now enter the valley of the shadow.


Oh God, hear our prayers. We are wandering in a wilderness of relentless violence, we are lost.

Our mouths are filled with dust as we taste the bitterness of rage and the first fruits of grief.

Our hearts are broken at the loss of these young lives and the shattering of so many families, and like our forebears, we would cover our heads with dust and rend our garments to show the depth of our sorrow and pain.


Crucified and Human One, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death for our sake, help us. Walk with us through the dark valley. In this Lenten season, give us the courage to face our brokenness and lack of will to make peace in our communities, our cities, our schools. Give us the wisdom to open our eyes and speak truth to power.  Show us a way out of this wilderness. Give us strength to make our Lenten discipline one of remembrance, repentance, and action on behalf of  those whose lives are being shattered every day. Let this be our fast.


In the name of the Suffering Servant, Jesus, we pray. Amen.



2.14.18. Ash Wednesday

The Reverend Dr. Laurie A Kraus

Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance


Stay Updated on Disaster Responses

Join the Rapid Information Network to receive updates and more.