The signs on social media have been larger.
The passionate protests have increased.
And the bold call has only become louder. It goes something like this:
“No more thoughts and prayers! We need action!”
There exists a sincere desire for something to be actually done.
So allow me to begin with today’s bottom line…
Those protests are not wrong.
But they’re not right either.
Any time our country experiences tragedy, hardship or misfortune, one of the sobering jewels in our grief, is that sorrow is typically shared. As I attempt to find a silver lining, so-to-speak — or perhaps better identified as some sort of pocket of hope, somewhere, when these horrific events happen in our land — I find myself somberly thankful at some point that grief is a shared experience; we are all in this together; wise men and women desire no affliction of the innocent. We crave calamity’s ceasing.
And that’s where the separation seeps into our semantics. That’s where the calls have become louder, bolder, and the passionate protests have begun to push…
“No more thoughts and prayers… Action!
That’s what we need! We are sick and tired of this happening! We will accept no more!”
Indeed. We need action. Something must be done.
For the one who is prompted to pray — to embrace the thoughts and prayers — excellent. Submission to an omniscient God who created us and continues to love us like crazy no matter what, is a wise next step; it’s especially wise, recognizing none of us have life or all of its socio-political solutions all figured out. I would add that I also have concern in finding increasingly more who seem numb to the inherent wisdom of prayer — and when any of us refuse to respect those who engage in such a deferential discipline.
Prayer is all about positioning; it recognizes that we are not God nor anywhere close nor is our thinking or decision-making even semi-equatable to his. Divine equality is an absurd concept; we will never be equated with him. That awareness prompts humility… perhaps the most vital virtue in in finding any solution, especially when wrestling with misfortune or conflict.
But our reaction to the adverse — whether it be an act of violence or volatile political dispute — shouldn’t end with thoughts and prayers; that’s why the bold protests are not wrong.
Seekers of wisdom are called to act; it’s the discernment in how faith and action fit together.
What good is it if we say we have faith but don’t show it by our actions?
How can we show our faith if we aren’t engaging in good deeds?
Can’t we see that faith without those good deeds and willingness for action is useless?
Faith and action cannot be separated.
Hence to suggest we need no action makes no sense to me.
To ignore the wisdom of thoughts and prayers also makes no sense.
Both omit what’s vital…
… starting with a posture of humility.