We pray for peace in our town, in our nation, in our world

Some 50 people gathered Thursday night in Williamsport to send up prayers.

We would like to think that number would be multiplied a hundredfold and more with silent and group prayers across our town, across our state, across all of the land over which we all wander, for “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

These are unthinkable times to anyone who remembers growing up in a pre-9-11 world. We are horrified by the acts of violence that have rocked our city. We are horrified by the unthinkable attacks on innocents in yet more communities around the nation. We are horrified that anyone would turn one of our constitutional rights against us by picking up a weapon and using it against another human being.

Will gun legislation — either curtailing firearms ownership or encouraging it — do anything to solve this? We are skeptical, for any number of reasons. We are skeptical that bans or other limitations can be effectively enforced in a free society. We are skeptical that a republic, with its requisite checks and balances, will codify limitations in the first place. We are skeptical that a grieving public will accept the burden — and it is a burden — of further arming good people in every sphere of public interaction to counter the potential presence of evil-doers with guns.

So let us put our faith in prayer, an excellent place to start.

We pray for peace. We pray for friendliness and goodwill toward all. We pray for our children and our neighbors’ children, and generations yet to be born, that they may lead meaningful lives in a world of peace.

We pray for our police, first responders and community leaders, that they have the strength and courage to confront evil when it surfaces and comfort the innocent in evil’s aftermath.

We pray for the creative spark to guide us to realistic solutions to the problems that fuel this trend of violence. That’s far more complicated than it sounds. It does not stop with arresting those who have already committed their unthinkable acts.

We don’t have all of the answers. But we do have prayers, and we have each other. Every person can make a difference, in the smallest of ways. Who knows what sort of ripple effect that may have on the world?

As the song goes, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

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