In the aftermath of the murder of 12 people in an Aurora movie theater, I asked Dr. Michael Dent, Senior Minister of Denver's historic Trinity United Methodist Church, to offer reflections and a prayer before The Forum's July 24 luncheon with Don Childears of the Colorado Bankers Association.
Here is Dr. Dent's prayer:
A Prayer for Healing & Community
"Holy One, we experience you in different ways and we call you by different names - we often bless you and sometimes we curse you!
"Our community has so recently been rocked by the inexplicable tragedy of a dozen young persons gone suddenly and violently. We have felt profound sadness, sorrow and anger over such a senseless, violent violation of what you have called 'very good' - the gift human life.
"Source of life, light and love, you created a beautiful world - a world that is finite and free. We are reminded in these days of devastating wildfires and wild human behavior that physical evil such as destructive flames and insidious cancer is the natural implication of a finite world - and that moral evil such as mass murder and chronic child abuse is the tragic implication of a free world.
"We weep at the sudden deaths of those in Aurora and at the covert abuse of those children in Pennsylvania. We did not know them but we know each is precious to you. They were all someone's son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father. Send your healing mercy to all those who were harmed - victims, and their families and friends.
"We have once again been reminded of how fragile and unpredictable human life is, and therefore how precious it is. In our short time on earth, may we find needed meaning and support in healthy relationships with one another and with you. May we discover hope and comfort in the words of ancient sacred texts, 'Blessed are those who mourn...do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good...' what is required of us is but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you and one another.
"Thank you for the light of love and peace that shines in the darkness and cannot be extinguished by the occasional horrific acts of your children. Thank you for communities of fellowship and support such as this one in which we sit at able together and are enriched by food and conversation in a forum of freedom of speech and mutual respect. Thank you for careers of those in banking, community development, law enforcement, the military, emergency response, medicine, public service, and industry - all of whom contribute to the common good and well being of all persons in all places.
"In your name we pray.
President, The Denver Forum
25 July 2012