Lament for Aleppo

Lament for Aleppo
A prayer by Nathan Michael Black

“Omran, angels are here!” Prints available at

Bombs fall.
Gas suffocates.
Bullets pierce.
Babies cry.
Mothers run.
Brothers and sisters hide.
Fathers fight.
Until no one remains.
Words fail me.
My heart fails me.
Why do my eyes and ears not fail me?
What great sin have I committed that has to be atoned for by seeing and hearing such horror?
How can these atrocities be happening now?
In my lifetime, in my world?

Forgive me, oh God, for even my lament is more about my own pain than the pain of those living and dying in such horrors.
But, how far is suffering from us really?
How do we live comfortable lives while others fear genocide?
Why won’t the hand of God be moved to save the innocent people of Aleppo?
How can God be God in this world?
Where does our help come from?

Hear our litany of repentance and have mercy on us:
We have denied Jesus in our attempt to deny our own suffering and the suffering in the world.
We have forgotten that our hands are the hands of God in this world.
We have substituted the presence of God for delusions of relief and comfort.
We don’t even recognize ourselves as followers of Jesus and instead have become followers of religion, of power, and of money.
We have become deaf and blind to suffering, even our own. For how could we not be suffering in the midst of this world’s pain?
We have abandoned the calls to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Our apathy, our love of comfort, our selfishness have all contributed to the the conditions the world is now in.

Forgive us our sins, oh God, and keep our feet from stumbling on this path.
Restore us to the greatest Love and teach us how to live it completely and courageously.
Cleanse and renew our hearts so our motives are pure.
Heal our blind eyes and open our deaf ears, so we can see and hear clearly.
Touch our clenched and withered hands so that we may be able to use them again to be God’s hands in the world.
Clear our minds, heal our fear, and give us courage so that we may know your voice and that we may act when you lead us to act.
Hear the cries of humanity in Aleppo and around the world. Protect those in danger. Comfort those who are hurting. Heal the fear, hatred, and greed that lead to these atrocities.
This is our prayer, this is our promise.

In your many names and in the name of the one who taught us to Love even at the cost of our lives, the name of Jesus, we pray.