The thing that I’m finding is that no matter how many times this sort of thing happens, no matter how often I hear about acts of violence and cruelty in the world, at some point on those days I’m searching for a response. On most days what I do is pray.
Often we think of prayer as the only thing we can do. It as if we are saying that we are going to pray about this becomes a default response. And although we believe something is happening when we pray, most of the time I’m not sure what that is. My friend Steve Manskar who was writing about this incident in his blog this week helped me with this when he said…
Praying for the dead and their families, the injured survivors, and first responders opens our hearts to grace that equips us for action. Prayer gives an opening for the Holy Spirit who leads us to acts of compassion and justice.
Steve is saying a lot in those two sentences. First, that prayer provides a means for us to receive the grace we need to live in these times. And that prayer will lead us to responses that will make a difference in this world, what he calls acts of compassion and justice. The point I’m highlighting today is that our actions may not necessarily be directly related to the act we are praying about such as the shooting in Las Vegas. Our prayer opens us in all moments of our life to be a witness to God’s love and God’s sense of what is needed.
This is what I was trying to say last Sunday in my sermon on suffering when I said, When we allow the Holy Spirit to blow into our lives, we encounter suffering not only in our lives, but we will also be connected to the suffering of the world.
Being connected to the suffering of the world is a part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean that all day, every day we have to immerse ourselves in the pain and heartache that is so abundant in our times. A willingness to be connected to the suffering of the world means that we are asked to respond in any given situation as if it had the capacity for someone to suffer in their own way, as those directly affected by what happened in Las Vegas are suffering today.
Keep the Faith,