The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), offers a prayer in response to the murder of Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha on Tuesday, February 10, 2015:

Holy most merciful God.

Our hearts are heavy as we, the living, attempt to find some semblance of reason in the murder of three young students: Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Around the world songs of prayer and laments of grief go up from followers of the Abrahamic faiths and from people of good will.

All around us God, we look for your mercy for those whom society has sent to the margins, who are often subject to heavy stares, stereotypes, and violence. We do this even as we claim our unity and deny our participation in this separation. Help us see that mercy can be found in our own hands and eyes.

As we grieve, remind us to celebrate these short and bright lives and hold tight to their ideals. Uplift their good works and hope in attaining the dream of leaving this world a bit better than we came to it.

Help us break down the walls of hostility and separation and to search our unity as your peoples. May we be inspired by these young students, whose lives were too short to attain their life’s work, and may we carry on their legacy in their honor.

In the name of the one in whom we witnessed your divine Mercy,