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Mourners in Buffalo. Photo: Stringer/Reuters

Eternal God, author of our lives, gatherer of our families, witness of all our births and deaths, today our prayers encircle all those wounded at a distance by the racist attacks in Buffalo and Laguna Woods – all those wounded, but not shot, those awaiting their beloveds’ return from a Saturday trip to the market and from a Sunday lunch at church, those plunged instead into a nightmare of mourning. A tragedy upon tragedy would be these events retracting to two dimensions, receding in our memories, overtaken by our distractions. The losses in these lives will remain forever in three dimensions, always incarnated, the empty places at the table always having shape and volume, the emptiness in a thousand hearts of surviving families and friends exerting weight as long as the hearts beat. By your grace, if we imagine ourselves in their situation, we will weep with them; if we keep a place in our hearts for them, we will work harder to redeem their suffering by decisive and just action; if we remember your love for all whom you have made, we will remember today that we should weep, we should mourn, and we should act, because if you have lost members of your family, so have we. We pray this in your mighty name. Amen.

— My prayer at last night’s vigil at First AME Church of Los Angeles for the Buffalo and Laguna Woods victims, sponsored by the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Civil and Human Rights.