Your Thoughts And Prayers Aren't Enough

The news is grim this morning.  We all woke up today to the news of yet another mass shooting--this time at a club near Pepperdine University in Southern California.  13 dead, including the gunman and at least 10 injured.

I heard a television commentator remark, "This is the worst mass shooting in the United States... in the last twelve days."  

In fact, there have been eleven mass shootings in America since the shooting that took place at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th.  10 people were killed in those eleven other mass shootings and 46 people were injured.  

People of faith always struggle to know what to say during these tragedies, but far too many Christians end up saying the wrong things, and sometimes publicly.  

Today, as I watched the news, I was reminded once again of the lyrics of a song by the rock band A Perfect Circle. 

In the song "Talk Talk" the band criticizes Christians for the way we will often send our "thoughts and prayers" to the victims of these tragedies and their families without actually doing something to make a difference.  

You're waiting 
On miracles We're bleeding out 

And prayers
Like cake in a crisis 
We're bleeding out 
While you deliberate
Bodies accumulate... 
Sit and talk like Jesus
Try walkin' like Jesus

The lead singer of the band is an outspoken critic of Christians, but he quietly acknowledges something important in these lyrics:  

If Christians walked the walk instead of merely talking the talk--as it relates to their faith in Jesus--the singer allows that he just might think differently about those of us who claim to be Jesus-followers.  

This reminds me of that classic quote from Gandhi when he was addressing a British churchman:  "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."  

So Christian friend... today is a day to keep our thoughts and prayers between us and God---along with any public commentary on politics, freedom, and rights.  

Instead, let us go out into the world determined to make it a better place.  Let us bring healing, hope, and kindness.  We need to listen and embrace.  We need to reach out to those who are hurting.  They need to know that Jesus is for them, and so are we.  

And we need to be willing to speak truth to power, just like Jesus did---time and time again throughout his ministry.  In short, our hurting world needs Jesus, and it's time we started acting like him.    

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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