And What About You, O God? – My Lament On The First Anniversary Of The Uvalde Shooting

Shortly after Easter I attended a retreat that focused on creativity and spirituality. In one of the workshops we were invited to write our own psalm. I knew that I would write about the mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde May 24, 2022, and the upcoming first anniversary of that tragedy. I was surprised by how easily and quickly the words came but not so surprised by the words that came.

The shooting has called me more deeply into my priesthood and at the same time called into question so many things. I suspect it’s that tension that gave birth to the words I wrote. Some might hear my words as unfaithfulness. Perhaps they are. Others might hear them as growth. I hope they are. But I’m not really sure what they are other than my struggle with God, life in this world, and myself. Maybe you know that struggle too.

Have mercy on me, O God.
Wash me through and through.
Purge me from my sin.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.

And what about you, O God?
	What about your heart?
	What about your sin?

You listen to my words but can you speak them?
	Dare you speak them 
		to Buffalo,
				Highland Park,
								To me?
How long, O Lord, how long?

Are you incapable or just unwilling?
Though you’ve never asked, I prefer a weak God who cannot 
	to a strong God who can but chooses not to.
Where is the Omni in your Potent these days, O God?

They tell me that yours, O God, is the first heart to break. 
I’ve said that to others, but tell me O God, whose will be the last? And when?

How long, O Lord, how long?

Have you broken me or broken open something in me?
Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.

I’ve cried until I have no more tears.
	My tears haven’t dried; they run dry.
	My eyes have the dry heaves. 

What about your tears, O God?
What about your eyes?
Do you feel the sting of my dry eyes?

I want to know, O God, I want to know all these things.

And yet…
	And yet…
		And yet…

You are God and I am not. 
	I am Mike. 
		And we are standing on holy ground.

I will, therefore, put on my sandals and make a first step,
	trusting O God, my God, 
	trusting that you will follow.

Image Credit: By U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Flickr, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Beautiful and honest! God can handle our questions and doubts. I truly believe that one day we will understand. Thank you for putting anguish into words!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think God is crying right along with us, not only for all the victims of mass shootings, but because of all the terrible things that people are doing to each other all over the world. There’s Haiti, the Ukraine, The Sudan, and so many other places where issues are being solved through bloodshed. Not to mention what we’re doing to His creation which He so generously gave us. He gave us freewill and we have taken it down the road of destruction and devastation.
    I don’t know what else to do but to pray for good to be greater than evil, for the Holy Spirit to pierce people’s hearts with love for one another.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The free will the Creator gave each of us to choose what we would become is at the heart of the downward-spiraling human dilemma. The final reckoning is not a punishment, but an inevitable outcome as our societies have chosen to travel the wrong paths. We have the Creator’s promise to each and every one of us that all is not lost, and will never be lost. All we can do in our own lives is keep the flame of belief alive.


    2. Yes, Maria, there is so much pain in the world these days. I hope we will pray and then enact and embody our prayers. I am grateful for your presence on this journey.

      Peace be with you,


  3. “The eye with which I see god is the same eye with which god sees me.”
    — Meister Eckhart

    “… can you look away now that you know?”
    — Celeste Ng, “Our Missing Hearts”
    Crying voices heard
    Speaking sacred truths aloud
    To us all, matters.

    Thank you, Michael Marsh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the things that I always appreciate about your sermons is that you don’t preach, you ponder and your unique gift is that you invite us to share in your pondering. You always make me feel that you don’t think of your opinions as unique and you don’t offer many solutions. Instead you invite us to think.

    Several years ago I was asked to teach a class on the Psalms and, as usually happens when we teach, I learned more than the people in the class. The Psalms became very special to me. It was about this same time that I started writing a monthly column for the parish newsletter. This is something I’ve missed doing since I left Kerrville. After reading your psalm it occurred to me that if I combined my love for the Psalms with my talent for creative writing I might find..well who knows what, and be lead who knows where?

    Say a prayer for me as I undertake this endeavor and I’d welcome any suggestions you might have.

    Ellen Connelly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, I hope you follow your insight of combining your writing gift and your love of the psalms. There are so many possibilities, it would be like writing your own prayer book. Let me know how it goes.

      Peace be with you,


  5. Your psalm reminds me of the lamentations of Israel held captive by the Babylonians. I feel the great groaning of creation and our culture as we experience this persistent evil of bloodshed and division. I know God is in control. I know we learn from pain. I know that a great lesson is coming. I hope my heart is open enough to learn. Your sermons always give me pause to learn. Thank you for being real.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike, honest questions from a searching heart. “I prefer a weak God who cannot to a strong God who can but chooses not to”. Stretching your faith thin. To get your head around God not seeming to intervene when humans choose evil is heart breaking. I hope you find understanding in this. I don’t understand either. Hidden with Christ in God may you find your way.

    Liked by 1 person

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