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