How long, O Lord? …                                                                                               
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?  (Psalm 13:1-2 New Revised Standard Version)


Grace to you and peace, through the love of God who weeps with us in every time of sorrow and sustains us in all the seasons of this life.

Writing on behalf of the World Council of Churches and its 349 member churches around the globe, I wish to convey the assurance that individuals and families throughout the world are devoting their thoughts and prayers to the memory of those who were lost in Friday’s senseless shootings, and to the healing of those who have been left behind, to the mending of injured bodies, hearts and minds.

Our thoughts and prayers focus on Sandy Hook and Newtown, and we long to offer our support to you and your communities. In these difficult days we wish to say that we stand with you in spirit, and that God is with you always.

We are deeply grateful to the Connecticut churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of prayer and service that have dedicated themselves to direct support of families, neighbours and the broader communities surrounding Sandy Hook Elementary School. Their witness is an encouragement to us all.

Last year, I was in my native Norway when a deranged gunman massacred a great many young people and adults in the capital and on a nearby island. In the aftermath, we Norwegians were shocked by the tragedy, yet we were moved by the way people of various beliefs came together. We were all too aware that evil and death are inescapably real. But we slowly came to appreciate the reality of life and love, as well.

God is love, and God calls us to love and serve one another.

We commend all who stand vigil with those in pain. With mourners everywhere, we cry out, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And we support and pray for community and national leaders who are asking hard questions, hoping to prevent future tragedies.

May you be aware of God’s presence among you, however circumstances may numb your senses and bring even love into doubt. May you find friends and companions on this difficult journey, and again discover the road that leads to life.

Now and always, may the blessing of Almighty God, whom we Christians know in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you forever. Amen.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary