It’s too much.
Everything is just plain too much today.
Among the Conference staff we take turns writing the blog posts to accompany each week’s eNews. It’s my turn and I have so much to say, but I don’t have the words. It’s just too much today.
People are dying. People are killing other people. Epidemics of illness of the mind, body, and soul are killing people. Hate and rage and fear are killing people. Our brothers and sisters are dying. In Iraqi Kurdistan, northern Syria, and West Africa, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the U.S.-Mexico border, in fancy Hollywood estates, and on neighborhood streets in Ferguson, Missouri, they are dying. And those are just the places that have made it to the very limited news feeds I’ve seen today. It’s just too much today.
I want the words that make it alright. I want to write the prayer that will settle my twitchy, angry, scared soul today. I want to type three or four eloquent sentences for you and me to sit down with our kids and neighbors this evening to pray together, maybe include a candle in our front window, and know that we’ll feel a little bit better about things. But I don’t think those words exist. I don’t think prayer is enough today. It’s just too much today.
Yes, we need to pray. For our sake, for our siblings who are dying’s sake, for the rock of this earth that is groaning and grieving’s sake, for God’s sake, we need to pray. But we also need to act.
We need to cry out when our brother suffers injustice! We need to write letters, make phone calls, have meetings with our elected officials to beg them to intervene and make policy changes that serve the good of all of our family members! We need to volunteer and donate and campaign for true leaders who will antibiotics without prescriptions heed those demands and will work for justice for ALL! We need to show up and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who bear the pains for all of us! We need to open our homes and our sanctuaries to our family members who need shelter, safety, food, and love! We remember that when the body of Christ suffers in any of its members, we all suffer, so we need to tend to OUR suffering!
We are people of faith. We know the stories of injustice and tyranny, we know the depravity of evil and the true darkness of the places without light. We also know the light. And we carry it. We bring the light to empty bellies with gifts of nutritious food. We fan the flame of the light when our canned goods are accompanied by policy changes that allow the working poor to earn a livable wage and children to receive adequate education in safe environments to rise out of the poverty of their parents. Our prayers are not enough. Jesus demands that we carry his light to the world.
Today, it’s just too much. We need to pray. But not quietly and politely with folded hands, alone. We need to pray loudly and robustly while holding hands with a sister or brother, offering support, pulling up out of the trenches, standing together in peaceful but adamant protest, sharing the heat of the flame and brightness of the light that is ours to share. We need to invite each other to join in, to share the Good News of the places we can act and the things we’re doing that others can help us with, this is how we are our best as the Church.
Today it’s just too much to only pray. It is time to also act.
May our actions be our prayers incarnate, Amen.
Brigit Stevens, Associate Conference Minister