I spent the day separated from the world. Today is the first day of Lent, so the school planned a quiet day at a convent a couple of towns over.

For me it was a day of prayer — of both talking to God and hearing Him point out an old heart wound that was generating fear and sin in my life. (Yes, ladies of the View, millions of Christians have a two-way conversation with Jesus. It’s been happening for two millennia.) The process of prayer, obedient listening, repentance and receiving forgiveness was deeply soothing and reassuring.

Then after a long get-to-know you chat over tea and spaghetti with a fellow student and then reading for tomorrow’s class, I decided to read the news.

I’m a journalist by trade. Even though I’m in seminary, I continue to hold on to my vocation of journalist even as I see God transform this calling for his purposes. So, I have some emotional toughness from years of reading news and photographing crime scenes and talking to broken people.

However, when I saw that at least 17 people were killed in yet another school shooting, I wept.

When Jesus encounters the crowds of broken people seeking his healing touch, he ministers to them in compassion. He loves on them. He is emotionally strong for them.

When Jesus, arrives in Bethany four days after Lazarus has died, he weeps. When Jesus looks over his beloved but rebellious Jerusalem, he weeps.

So, as I read about more dead children at the hand of an angry, broken child, I wept because I’m sure Jesus weeps.

Ash Wednesday is a day to remember that our lives are short, that we are but dust, that we are sinners. It is a day to remember that Jesus took on this frail humanity and felt all the physical and emotional pains we do. On his day, we begin a 40+ day march to Golgatha. Yet, instead of us getting executed for our crimes against God and our neighbor, the Holy One of Israel already took our place and received the penalty due for our crimes.

As we once again mourn young lives cut short at the hands of a young person, let us not debate or fight or shout about this political problem or that civic deficiency or even about morality, law, parenting, security, etc.

Each and every one of us should turn to the Creator of the Universe and cry out, “We are sinners! Heal us!”

What follows is an excerpt of the prayers for repentance prayed today by the Trinity School for Ministry community.

For all our unfaithfulness and disobedience;
for the pride, vanity and hypocrisy of our lives
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For our self-pity and impatience,
and our envy of those we think more fortunate than ourselves;
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For our unrighteous anger, bitterness and resentment;
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For our dishonesty in daily life and work.
our ingratitude for your gifts, and our failure to heed your call.
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For our blindness to human need and suffering,
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty;
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For all false judgments, for prejudice and contempt for others,
and for all uncharitable thoughts and actions toward our neighbors;
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For our negligence in prayer and worship,
for our presumption and abuse of your means of grace;
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

For our failure to commend the faith that is in us;
Lord, have mercy upon us:
For we have sinned against you.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

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