I don’t think I can add any wisdom, comfort, or empathy to last weekend’s tragedy in Orlando that hasn’t already been voiced. But I can share what I’m doing - or rather not doing - in the wake of the shooting.
I’m not praying for Orlando. Well, I’m not just praying for Orlando.
We’ve seen the memes, the profile pictures, the hashtags. Maybe you’ve utilized these to show solidarity, and I am certainly not condemning this - prayer is often where we turn when we’re not sure what else to do. But just as faith without works is dead, I believe prayer for others without allowing ourselves to be impacted and changed by others is not true prayer.
So I’m not just praying for Orlando, I’m learning from the responses that have emerged to this unspeakable pain.
I was shocked, hurt, and devastated - like most of us - when I woke to the news Sunday morning. I wondered what kind of a world I had brought Junia into, wondered what kind of a place I had in a world where such darkness existed. But as I reflected, mourned, and - yes - prayed, I began to see there are many testaments to humanity’s goodness in the face of evil.
There are stories of New Yorkers banding together to defend Muslim women; stories of airlines giving free flights to families of the attack victims; stories of lives being saved; stories of free counseling being offered to anyone affected by the shooting.
These are Gospel stories: love in action, light from darkness, goodness conquering evil, communities in solidarity. This is the change required of us to breathe life into our prayers.
These stories are my lessons - reminders to work toward this kind of love, light, goodness, and community every day. Believing in a Kingdom where beauty exists uninterrupted and love really does win.