On Sunday morning, June 12th, I prepared to give a sermon I titled, ironically, “Put Feet on Your Prayers.” I was nearly out the door when I heard the news that a group of people dancing the night away in Orlando, Florida, practically my backyard, were held hostage and gunned down.
As the congregation sang the opening song and I stepped into the pulpit to speak the opening prayer, I began as always by saying, “Namaste. The Spirit in me welcomes, honors, embraces and rejoices in the Spirit in you.” As always, I looked at the congregation, so many beautiful, vibrant faces before me. Men and women of all shapes, sizes, persuasions, personalities. Each one a divine child of God.
As news unfolded and we continued to pray for our Orlando brothers and sisters, one congregant asked whether we were going to “do something.” Another was furious that this had “happened again.” Later, a friend requested an encouraging word. Another expressed sadness and wanted comfort. Still another expressed shock and dismay. We prayed, but it wasn’t enough. We wanted to “feel better,” whatever that means.
Still later, I reflected on my sermon: That after we pray, we need to move our feet, get off the couch and go out into the world. Because it’s true: Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. After we pray, we also can act, remembering that God is where we are.
After we pray — and as we pray — we remember: Our prayers don’t change God or current events; our prayers change us. So we can transform ourselves — and our corner of the world. So we remember the presence of God, both with and within all of us, no matter where we live, how we look, what we believe, or who we love. Then, with that recognition, we can choose to act courageously, centered in faith and trust, and do what is ours to do.
After we pray for those in Orlando, and remember those in San Bernardino, Calif.; Newtown, Conn.; and Aurora, Colorado, among many other places, we can put feet on our prayers by:
- Writing and/or calling all our city, state and federal legislators continually to express our outrage, opinions, hopes and beliefs, as well as working to change current legislation.
- Registering to vote for the candidate of our choice and working to support that candidate. Then helping someone else register and agree to take them to the polls on Election Day.
- Boycotting businesses and establishments which condemn and refuse to recognize the humanity and divinity in all people, including those who choose to live differently than we do.
- Supporting, with our money, talents and time, the key local agencies within our cities and towns which advocate for the unheard, clothe the naked, educate the unlearned, feed the hungry, heal the sick, nurture the abused, remember the forgotten, and shelter the homeless.
After thoughts and prayers, we act, transforming ourselves, then transforming our world.
Namaste, Blessed Readers.