Calling them all by name.

(Photo taken by Mtr. Beth Tjoflat at glass factory in Hebron, Israel)

(Photo taken by Mtr. Beth Tjoflat at glass factory in Hebron, Israel)

Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

(The following reflection is provided by guest blogger Deacon Joe Mazza.)

As I do almost every Saturday morning, I went to a local food pantry to offer prayer and to help out any way I can.  As many as thirty folks are always standing in line to receive bags of groceries.  I always pray with the group — for their needs, their health, and that they can give their cares to our Lord — and I ask a blessing for the food they are about to receive.

This morning’s prayer was quite different.

Like most of the country, my thoughts and prayers have been with the victims and families of the unimaginable events in Newtown, Connecticut, and after the words of prayers for the folks in front of me, I shared prayers for the victims and families of victims, and it came to me that we know very well the name of the shooter, but not the names of the twenty children and six adults who were killed.  It seems that with any tragic mass killing, we hear over and over and remember very well the name of the individual with the gun, but soon forget the names of the victims, if we remember them at all.

I shared with the folks in line and the volunteers doing God’s work that as soon as the victims’ names are made public, I intend to copy them down and pray for them by calling each one by their name, and trying my best to remember them.

When I said this, over half of the folks, folks living in poverty, said they hadn’t thought of that and wanted to do the same.  The Lord will hear the prayers of those in need as clearly as He will hear all our prayers.

I pray now for each person killed, trying my best to commit to memory their names as well as I know the name of the individual responsible for their deaths. Please join me in praying for:

Charlotte, 6 years old

Daniel, 7 years old

Rachel, 29 years old, staff member

Olivia, 6 years old

Josephine, 7 years old

Ana, 6 years old

Dylan, 6 years old

Dawn, 47 years old, principal

Madeleine, 6 years old

Catherine, 6 years old

Chase, 7 years old

Nancy, 52 years old, mother of shooter

Jesse, 6 years old

James, 6 years old

Grace, 7 years old

Anne Marie, 52 years old, staff member

Emile, 6 years old

Jack, 6 years old

Noah, 6 years old

Caroline, 6 years old

Jessica, 6 years old

Avielle, 6 years old

Lauren, 30 years old, staff member

Mary, 56 years old, staff member

Victoria, 27 years old staff member

Benjamin, 6 years old

Allison, 6 years old

For me it’s not about details heard over and over on television outlets needing to fill time. When we know the names and see the faces of the children and adults killed, the other details mean nothing.  We will more easily remember God’s children with names and faces.

My heart and prayers go to the families who will soon have to face Christmas gifts and no child to give them to.

Prayer is the least I can do.

Deacon Joe Mazza
Church Without Walls, Jacksonville

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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3 Responses to Calling them all by name.

  1. Sheila Anderson says:

    My prayer for the families, Lord Jesus, still numb with grief, I place the familites in Your hands. be with the familes and friends as they mourn the death of there child they so loved.Help them to stay close to You and to one another as they struggle each day to accept the challenge of living without ALL THE CHILDREN NAMED. May each child be always at Your side to share in the light and glory of YOUR enternal life, happiness and peace.Amen

  2. Alma Flowers says:

    I will copy these names and say a prayer for each. My prayers will also be for the parents and grandparents of each. I do this in the name of our Lord and Savior.

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