Thoughts and prayers, yes -- and then, we must act

Thoughts and prayers, yes -- and then, we must act
photo by Margaret H. Laing

After Sunday night’s attack in Las Vegas, I was not only saddened, I was sickened to see notes on Facebook saying that the offerings of thoughts and prayers were no use.

Of course, our thoughts will be with, or on, Las Vegas if we pay the slightest attention to the news of the investigation of how such a massacre could have happened. We’ll think of Las Vegas just by walking around downtown, or wherever our home neighborhood is, and observing all the flags at half staff.

I heard a report on ABC-TV’s “World News Tonight” last night, Oct. 2, about a training exercise held recently in Las Vegas — by an officer who was on duty in Orlando, Fla., during the previous worst massacre in U.S. history. His thinking helped. I refuse to believe that other thoughts won’t.

Prayer isn’t worth giving up on, either. Even if you don’t feel the least bit hopeful right now, think about these words from the eighth chapter of the Bible’s book of Romans:

“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?”

— Romas 8:24 (Revised Standard Version)

Meanwhile, another story comes to my mind, the story of the prophet Elijah in the first book of Kings. My favorite part for times like these is the 19th chapter, when Queen Jezebel (whose name has become a byword for women like her) has Elijah running for his life. In words set to brilliant cello music  by Felix Mendelssohn, the prophet asks God that he might die:

“It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

— I Kings 19:4

But that isn’t the end of the story, just as we must not let our cries of “It is enough” end our own story.

As chapter 19 continues, Elijah is still on the run after 40 days. Then, for the first time, God has a question for him:

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He is asked twice; he explains twice. Then comes I Kings 19:15:

“And the Lord said to him, ‘Go…’ “

What are we doing here, U.S.A.?

What are you doing here?

Go. Act.


Visit Margaret Serious on Facebook for a post from the archives about gun control (and the lack of it.)



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  • Too much sadness repeated too frequently.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    I'm not quite where you are on this, Margaret - but I hope to be. Well done.

  • In reply to Michelle Babicz:

    Thank you, Michelle. Keep hoping, and not necessarily that we agree. Just keep hoping.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Yes. Amen.

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