People seem sick and tired of thoughts and prayers in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting less than two weeks ago. As a life long Christian I am rather partial to a prayer, but I think I understand what is happening. It seems as though offering thoughts and prayers, while not acting to change anything, rings hollow.
There is the story of a teenager who listened to her father praying for a family who had just become homeless. The father told God all about the situation, about what help they needed, including noting that there was an apartment available for low cost, furniture at a discount in a local store, and a food program in a community centre that didn’t cost anything (but did need people to transport the food themselves). The father ended his prayer asking God to intervene in this family's life.
The girl was listening to her father intensely. At the end she got up and walked over to him and said, “if you give me your credit card and car keys I will answer your prayer.”
Prayers have to lead to action: in the political process, in trying to understand the lives of others, in breaking down barriers of prejudice.
But thoughts and prayers can be action also. Today I have invited a Muslim Educator and a Jewish Rabbi to share their thoughts and prayers with us during the first half of the 10:30am Musical Eucharist. We are reaching across the boundaries of ethnicity and religious difference and looking for the peacemaker in our neighbor. I am proud to stand in solidarity with representatives of other faiths who each have a message of peace for us today.
This is our action today, to think and pray with a brother and a sister from a different faith and seek to dispel, in some small way, the misunderstandings that exist between us, to seek to build a bridge and not a wall between our communities. Come and join us at 10:30am at Transfiguration Episcopal Church and find out where our thoughts and prayers may lead us.
From the UK, Matthew loved US culture from the first time he picked up a Fantastic Four Comic when he was 12.