During a Findlay prayer vigil interspersed with hymns, the Rev. Jack Sullivan Jr. offered prayers Tuesday for everyone touched by the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, from victims families to first responders to the gunman himself.
Were here as people of faith, people of no faith, who are concerned enough to offer thoughts and prayers, but also enough to allow God and the forces of goodwill within us to propel us to use our talents, our education, our abilities, toward being part of the solution that can derail future acts of gun violence, particularly mass shootings, said Sullivan, senior pastor at First Christian Church, which hosted the vigil.
About a dozen people attended, plus media.
Sullivan read the names and ages of the 17 people, mostly students, killed last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
It does something to us, O God, to hear their names, and to think of their stories, to think of them as smiling persons who were engaged in the fullness of life, only to have their lives snatched away through the reckless use of a firearm, Sullivan said.
He prayed for those who knew the victims, all who found delight in their lives, all who shared life with them.
Sullivan also prayed for the injured, and the first responders and medical professionals caring for them.
He prayed, too, for the rest of the students, faculty, staff and administrators of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Those students who were there can never unsee what they saw, never unhear what they heard. Same for those faculty and staff and administrators who were on hand. Heal them, we pray, also, God. Restore their lives. Give them new energy and new hope and new confidence to not ever live in fear, but to live full lives, Sullivan said.
Sullivan also offered what he acknowledged was a bold prayer to make one for the shooter.
There are no words to explain that level of horror, he said, and people have the right to be angry.
Its difficult to know what disturbs a mind to the point where a person picks up weaponry designed for mass destruction and uses it such among his peers, faculty and staff, administrators, Sullivan said.
He asked that the gunman be held accountable, but also that God transform his life.
Prayers are sometimes tough to offer, and yet we make them, Sullivan said.