Dear Lakeside Family,

                                   Words fail me.

As many of us returned home on Wednesday afternoon we were greeted with the horrible news of yet another shooting – this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida.  As of this morning seventeen young people and teachers have been murdered, fourteen others injured. 
                Our hearts and prayers reach out to those families who must now carry the heavy burden of loss and grief.  It is ours to imagine their enormous anguish. 
                As we watch the news reports our hearts break for those left to journey on.
                Please be in prayer for all of those who are ministering to those survivors – the children, the loved ones who are now facing the complete re-shaping of their sense of reality.
                I want to share a prayer of confession in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Your friend and Pastor


Jack Noble

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

But not this way, Holy One, not now.

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