Thursday afternoon, I was invited to take part in an interfaith prayer vigil in my community. (My pastor was unable to go and asked me to fill in at the last minute.)

Our neighborhood has been shell-shocked, with an Asian deliveryman gunned down a few blocks from my home, and repeated acts of hatred and violence against a wide range of ethnics groups, from Jews to Asians to Sikhs. Add to this the recent events in Buffalo and Texas, and we are all feeling helpless in the face of so much bloodshed and hate.

So community leaders quickly put together this “rally against hate,” where politicians and activists made speeches and professed support. A cantor chanted. Rabbis and ministers offered words of consolation. I offered this short prayer.

Almighty God,
We your children have prayed for peace for so long,
We come to you again to plead
In this moment of sorrow and anxiety:
Let there be peace.
Help us not only to be instruments of your peace,
Help us to be instruments of justice.
Guide us to be people of compassion.
Of tolerance.
Of understanding.
Make us instruments of hope.
At the dawn of time, you called out:
“Let there be light.”
May we now be the light
To our dark and desperate world.
Help us to scatter the shadows of fear and mistrust, of anger and hate.
Give us the grace to heal what is broken,
To mend what is torn,
To strengthen what is weak,
And uplift all who feel forgotten, wounded and alone.
Good and generous God, help us continue your creation
So that we may leave behind a better world,
A world like the one you first dreamed of,
A world of solidarity and peace —
A world renewed by the blazing, fearless light of hope.