May 27, 2022
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, ‘Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!’ and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” ~ James 2:14-19 The Message
I heard a member of the Buffalo community state during an interview following the murder of ten black persons by a nineteen-year-old white man with an assault rifle with a racist agenda, “We don’t want your prayers.” Ten days later, nineteen 4th graders and two teachers were murdered in the middle of their next to the last school day of the year in Ulvade, TX.
I understand the sentiment. As James says, “God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense.” I believe in the efficacy of prayer. Our congregation will hold a prayer vigil on Sunday evening for the victims of the Uvalde shooting. We will pray not only for the victims, their family and friends, their school and community, and our nations, we will also examine and confess the ways that we fail to live as Jesus modeled.
Sincere prayer changes both prayer and recipient. One significant change that prayer can bring is a call and commitment to action. St. Ignatius put it this way, “Pray as if everything depended on God, and act as if everything depended on you.” I can write letters, call my legislators, vote for and support people who will stand for the value of human lives over personal freedoms. I can live a life based on Jesus’ model of love of God that embodies heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving neighbor as I love myself. I can live my life as prayer without ceasing.
I cannot do everything, but I will do what is mine to do this day, and every day. I pray that you will do so as well. ~ Anne