Dozens turn out for prayer service in response to Orlando massacre (VIDEO)

J. H. Osborne • Jun 16, 2016 at 9:15 PM

KINGSPORT — Dozens of area residents gathered for an open, noon prayer service Thursday at First Presbyterian Church of Kingsport, in response to the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history.

The mood was solemn, with participants asked to enter the church’s sanctuary in silence and to do likewise when leaving after the brief service.


In a a further nod to placidity, members of the media were asked not to take pictures or video during the event.

Pastor David Cagle offered the following prayer to open the service:

“Creator God, we come to you in confusion. Our minds argue with our hearts, and we are full of doubts and questions. More than anything else we need your blessed assurance. We ask that you be with the families of those involved in the shooting in Orlando and other tragedies in our nation and in the world in recent months. We are you children God, and we like things in neat little packages. None of this makes sense to us, so, we invite your Holy Spirit to come and comfort those who have experienced tragedy and those who seek to gather in your name. Be with us God. Amen.”

Those gathered then joined together to sing the hymn “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art,” which includes the lyrics “Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power, and give us strength in every trying hour,” “O grant to us the grace we find in Thee, that we may dwell in perfect unity,” and “Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure, that in Thy strength we evermore endure.”

Following a period of silent prayer for the victims in Orlando, those healing from their wounds, and other victims of recent tragedies, Cagle provided a scripture reading of Matthew 5:1-10, which he introduced thus:

“The question that needs to be asked in times such as this ... how do we respond to such a tragedy? As Christians, we always turn to the words of scripture, especially the life and teachings of or Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians we refuse to respond out of fear and hatred. We respond in the way of Christ. Certainly, there is a time to protect ourselves and defend ourselves. But what is the basic Christian characteristic that sets the foundation for all our life? I think we hear those words in the words of the Sermon on the Mount.

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain and after he sat down his disciples came to him, And he began to speak and he taught them, saying

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they can receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they can see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

A prayer for the families of those who died followed, in part:

“Almighty and everlasting God, You are the comfort of the sad and the strength of those who suffer in Orlando and in the world. Hear the prayers of those in anguish, and those who stand behind them in support. Comfort those who sleep alone, and the families whose nightmares attend them day and night.”

The service also included a prayer of hope, reading of the 23rd Psalm, and periods of silent prayer for the families of victims in Orlando; the oneness of creation; and to remember the life that is promised through the resurrection of Christ.

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