And here we are, another school shooting in Texas, and again, students balked at a familiar utterance which feels devoid of any real acknowledgment of the crisis of gun violence and the legislatures "head in the sand" approach to a solution.
However, I would like to reclaim this ever-popular condolence - our thoughts and prayers are with you. These words do not have to be empty nor lack impact. Let's take our thoughts. Cogitation and obsessing notwithstanding, some of the greatest change began with a thought. Someone had to think about ending slavery in these United States. Someone had to think about nonviolent resistance in the Civil Rights movement. Someone had to think about climate change to promote recycling. Thoughts can lead to powerful action, to effective lobby and to the decision to get up and vote for leaders that will address responsible gun ownership. These thoughts need to be with these students and families.
What about prayers? I would imagine that some of us have a "testimony" of how prayer has had a positive impact on our lives and the lives of our community. Deep, fervent prayer joins the Holy Spirit revealed at Pentecost, with our hearts and minds. From there, we discern God's will for justice and peace for all people and re affirm Jesus' call to "love your neighbor as you love yourself". With this focus, I believe we are not promoting further access to violence with more guns. Instead the prayers inspire ways we can unite in our care for the grieving and actively support the students in their movement. As the old saying goes, "prayer changes things" and it can alter the course of history in these precarious times.
How can your thoughts and prayers create momentum for change? Think and pray on it.