Michael A. Milton, PhD
O MERCIFUL FATHER, who has taught us in Thy holy Word that our God does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men, and is, yet, altogether Sovereign and close to the brokenhearted: Let the mourning mothers and fathers lay their grief before the cross where these divine mysteries mingle in salvation and hope; And, we know that Thou art with our fellow citizens in their quaint village, at least today, a place of unspeakable horror; So, from the deepest parts of our humanity and in faith in the risen Christ, we pray Thy comfort upon them, even as we plead for Thy Holy Spirit to speak to them with the deep healing that human words can never bring:
Those who are the dear sorrowing mothers and fathers that wail in indescribable pain over the slaughter of their children—the mothers with empty arms who could not hold their dying babies, fathers with unfathomable grief who were unable to protect their children from an inexplicable rage of unrestrained sin birthed by a dark demonic mind; and a teacher, she, also, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend—executed by one who became like a beast and not a man, acting on the dark impulses of a wicked spirit, a pitiless creature, tormented by the “father of lies,” beguiled by his own fallen heart, and groomed by a world in love with death; And we pray for ourselves, those who call on Thy Name, not that we have borne the incalculable pain of those parents and that community, but that in our misery over the loss of life, over the loss of innocence, over the godless, calculated changes in society that defy Thy Word and mock Thy Name, we will know Thy certain and indisputable will: that we who are called by Thy Name will seek Thy face—not the faceless, untethered governmental powers of accumulated taxes, nor the promises of legislation over meaningless matters—and return to the faith of our Mothers and Fathers, the religious devotion of our Founders, and the Christian conviction for our Puritan and Pilgrim forefathers who made a covenant with Thee for this land, to be “a city on a hill;”
For O God our Father, we are like the Israelites dying in the hot desert sands from fatal bites of vipers; We are like the captives of Babylon weeping in prayer by the banks of a river that runs through a country we do not recognize; How long, O Lord, how long, wilt Thou restrain Thine arm of justice from the righteous removal of such scarlet tides of violence that ebb and flow, violently crashing, by the unseen but energetic forces of unbelief in our land? How can we not expect the consequences of a whirlwind when we have sown such evil? According to Romans chapter one, the denial of truth has bred insanity, a veritable downslide from the weight of infidelities against Thy Divine Person? Are we, then, given over to our unbelief? Are we alone in the cosmos, reaping a more terrible pandemic that is even now injected into our collective and individual minds? For we see the foolish and wholesale acceptance of what is absurd; We watch in increasing apathy that the wicked denial of God is not only embraced by those entrapped by Satan but is forced upon all of us as the norm: in the public squares, the classrooms, and the radio waves of our nation; And in our practical atheism, we are blind to the coming judgments already at our door: As our poets have warned us, the Fall of Rome came with a distant moving of the herds, responding to some giant army behind them:
“Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.”
O Lord, how can it not be? For there is ruthless and rampant killing in our deteriorating cities, the indecent and unnatural use of our bodies to satisfy the sinister voices from a lower world, thereby defying our humanity; the mob cries of approval, like the ungodly mobs at Lot’s door, approving the gruesome abortionist’s bloody procedures, shredding children from the womb, the brutality of young men raging against each other in the streets of our cities, as the lifeless bodies of our youth are clinging with their death-frozen hands to the bags of poisonous magic, and the immodest and unrestrained lusts of men-turned-beasts are ravaging our girls and our women;
How long until the natural judicial consequences of our unbelief become the incomprehensible divine justice that is promised? And shall it not be all the more terrible for the knowledge we have been given by godly fathers and mothers of prior generations? Their witness is everywhere around us in the steeples pointing us to heaven, in the educational institutions dedicated to all learning coming from God? Are the articles of their faith not etched in the stone of our national monuments?
Indeed, for our sake Thou tarriest and for our good Thy mercy and grace holds back the fierce storm of virtuous judgment, so that we who are Thy People may turn and throw ourselves on Thy mercy, and remove ourselves from the wickedness of these days, and that we may cry out to a merciful and loving God who withheld judgment against Nineveh; Then, wilt Thou also withhold Thy hand and have compassion on us, who nevertheless live in the ruin and rubble from days of defiance; and Thou wilt heal our land;
Lord, we can pray no other way but this: O God, heal our land from the inside out so that we may be saved from ourselves. We pray for the glory and the uplifting of the Name above all Names, even Jesus Christ our God and Savior, who ever lives with Thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forevermore. Amen.
The poem quoted is from W. H. Auden, “The Fall of Rome,” in Nones (New York: Random House, 1951), https://poets.org/poem/fall-rome.