Today, more than two dozen people were killed by a gunman who opened fire inside a small Texas church. Last week, another man mowed down eight people in lower Manhattan before crashing his truck. Last month, more than 50 lives ended when a gunman took aim at people attending a concert in Las Vegas.
It’s getting harder and harder to feel safe.
I don’t know what we can do about that. Not really.
We can and we should pray for the victims and the families who now have one or more empty places at their tables.
We may be able to pray for forgiveness for the perpetrators of these acts of violence. (I’m not sure I’m a good enough person to do that, but maybe some of you might be.)
We can and we should pray for our world.
But we should not let “thoughts and prayers” become an empty platitude.
Presbyterian Mission Agency theologian Charles Willey writes:
A shallow practice of extending “thoughts and prayers” with no self-reflection and no commitment to action is no prayer at all. Embodied, emboldened thoughts and prayers is a powerful movement that follows Jesus Christ in aligning ourselves with God’s concern for all people.
If you’re in a position to do something for the victims of these crimes, help them.
If you can be an advocate against violence in your community, be a peacemaker.
And if you can’t do any of that, at least spend time with the people that you care about and make sure that they know you love them.