A dark night at Dark Knight: Prayer of lament for Colorado shooting victims

Last night a 24-year-old gunman opened fire on a theater full of people who had come to see The Dark Knight Rises on opening night.

From the New York Times:

A gunman armed with three weapons, including a rifle and shotgun, opened fire in a theater crowded with families and children at a midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in a Denver suburb early Friday morning, killing at least 12 people and wounding at least 38 others, the local police and federal officials said.

Just before he began shooting, the police said the man, identified as James Holmes, 24, had appeared in front of the packed theater in Aurora, Colo., and set off at least one smoke device before firing randomly at audience members, who had just settled into their seats.

Read the whole article here.

Just this last week I read a moving book called A Liturgy of Grief: A Pastoral Commentary on Lamentations. I reviewed it here. I quoted something the author, Leslie C. Allen, says right at the beginning of the book:

The release, rather than the bottling up, of inarticulate emotion is a valuable first aid to be applied over and over again to the raw wounds of grief.

Surely this shooting is occasion for the release of some inarticulate emotions: emotions of frustration, anger, sadness, confusion, mourning. Even for those of us with no direct connections to the shooting victims, it is occasion for grief.

Allen in his book often refers to a book by Ann Weems called Psalms of Lament. She composed her psalms (patterned after the Biblical ones) after she unexpectedly lost her son on his 21st birthday. She dedicates the book “to those who weep and to those who weep with those who weep.” Here is her Lament Psalm Four, which I hope you will pray with me now:

O Holy One, I can no longer see.
Blinded by tears
that will not cease,
I can only cry out to you
and listen
for your footsteps.

Are you, too, O God,
blinded by tears?
Have you watched this world
pile its hate
onto the faces
of your little ones
until your eyes are so filled with tears
that you cannot see me
waiting for you?
Are you, O God,
deafened by the expletives
of destruction and death?
Have you heard
so many obscenities
that you cannot hear
my moaning?
O God, if you are blind,
can’t you hold out
your hand to me?
If you’re deaf,
can’t you call my name?

How long, O God,
am I to sit
on the plain of blindness?

How long am I to listen
to the profanity
of my enemies
who mock:
“Where is your God now?”

Show them, O my God,
that you remember.
Reach out your hand
and dry my eyes
that I might see
a new beginning.
Open your mouth
and call me by name
that I might know
you remember me.
Claim me that I might
announce in the marketplace
that my God is here.

O my heart,
give thanks!
My God is here even
in the midst of destruction.

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