I love this prayer offered today by a Drew seminarian for the family and friends of Tyler Clementi, and for many others who live in despair... And I wanted to pass it on...
One of our national trainers and a member of the National Shalom Committee is a professor at Rutgers University where this latest youth suicide occurred. She shared with us how emotionally overwhelmed the campus community is right now, and we want to lift up those in need of help and healing into the Light of Christ.
We humbly bow our heads to thank you for your faithfulness when we come to you in prayer. We lift up your name in praise, Oh God because we know that we are weak and powerless without you.
We know that you are the hearer of the prayers of every sinner, Lord, of every woman, every child, every man, every lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersexed child. For we are all your children. The children of God who were created in your image.
We especially lift up, Lord, the family, friends, partners, classmates, neighbors and teachers who so positively touched the lives of all seven (7) of the gay teens who recently ended their own lives – simply because they couldn't take it anymore. They could not bear yet another day of not being loved, not being understood, not being heard when they cried out for peace instead of hate, acceptance instead of shame, love instead of fear and intolerance.
Perhaps they didn't know that you would be there Lord, to hold their hands and walk with them through their trials, through the taunting, through the teasing, through the name-calling, through the guilt, the pain and the shame they must have felt. Let us pray for their loving spirits and remember them today:
Tyler Clementi, 18, Ridgewood, NJ,
Asher Brown, 13, Cyprus, TX,
Seth Walsh, 13, Tehachapi, CA,
Justin Aaberg, 15, Anoka, MN,
Billy Lucas, 15, Greensburg, IN,
Cody Barker, 17, Shiocton, WI,
Raymond Chase, 19, Monticello, NY
Lord receive them. They are not forgotten. You know their names.
Let us also intercede in prayer for the many similar LGBTQI adults and children who have been left behind to continue in their struggle for love and acceptance. Guide them. Strengthen them. Let them know that the God that we serve loves, protects and provides for ALL of God's children. Let them be certain to hear and believe the message that God loves them just the way that they are! Help them to learn to pray without ceasing Lord – to pray for change, to pray for lives transformed by a healing, trusting relationship with you, oh God, our loving Savior.
We also pray for hope, health and healing of the young people who have been named as the possible impetus for the latest, senseless tragedy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. If they are involved, bless them, Lord for they know not what they did. We ask that you would please take them into your loving arms. Teach them that love conquers hate, that peace and understanding transcends all fear. Transform their hearts so that they will know that there is a place at the table for them as well. It is painfully obvious that they are also lost. Lost in a cruel world that tells them that its ok to bully, bash and torment those people who may not look like them or dress like them or speak like them or love the way that they do. As a community of faith, in the aftermath of these tragedies, we call for calm, peaceful remembrance, meaningful dialogue and continued healing; not more divisiveness or retaliation.
In the name of Christ, the anointed one, we pray, AMEN.
Esquire Holland, United Church of Christ/Seminarian
Co-President of SPECTRUM (LGBTQI Student Group)
Drew University Theological School
Madison, NJ 07940
M.Div. Class of 2013