Gracious God, on Thursday in Alabama, one of 27 states in the United States that still execute people, Kenneth Smith, who had committed a horrific crime and deserved a life sentence, was asphyxiated by state officials and died in apparent agony, 14 months after they had tried unsuccessfully to kill him by lethal injection. God of all, when judges display the Ten Commandments in their courthouses, by your grace may they also be inspired to display and heed these words from St. Paul: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'” (Romans 12:17-19). Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.