Rev. Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, the former Episcopal Bishop of Tehran, Iran, wrote this prayer upon the murder of his son. I share it after the massacre in Orlando in hopes it may be a word that brings some modicum of healing. Lord, hear our prayer:
A Father’s Prayer Upon the Murder of His Son
O God we remember not only Baharam but also his murderers. Not because they killed him in the prime of his youth and made our hearts bleed and our tears flow, not because that with this savage act they have brought further disgrace on the name of our country among the civilized nations of the world, but because of their crime we now follow in thy footsteps more closely in the way of sacrifice.
The terrible fire of this calamity burns up all selfishness and possessiveness in us. Its flame reveals the depth of depravity and meanness and suspicion…the dimension of hatred and the measure of sinfulness in human nature. It makes obvious as never before our need to trust in God’s love as shown in the cross of Jesus and his resurrection.
Love which makes us free from hate towards our persecutors, love which brings patience, forbearance, courage, loyalty, humility, generosity, greatness of heart. Love which more than ever deepens our trust in God’s final victory and his eternal designs for the church and for the world. Love which teaches us how to prepare ourselves to face our own day of death.
O God, Baharam’s blood has multiplied the fruits of the spirit in the soil of our souls, so when the murderers stand before thee on the day of judgment, remember the fruit of the spirit by which they have enriched our lives and FORGIVE.
I was born and raised in the sight of water in Hampton, Virginia. I was baptized and nurtured in the Presbyterian church. There was never a time when weekly worship attendance, the giving of ...