Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.
Psalm 55:9-11 (NIV)
Las Vegas. "Sin City." What sounds like automatic weapons fire showers into a crowd gathered for a country music concert - "Route 91 Harvest Festival" - 22,000 in attendance - in the street mowed down by a millionaire lone gunman whose motives are still unknown. In minutes, 59 people are dead; 527 are wounded.
And the pundits of left and right line up in their respective corners to continue their arguments. Politicians and entertainers dismiss the relevancy of "thoughts and prayers." You know, as police chief Captain Renault in the movie "Casablanca" would say "the usual suspects" make their agenda known loud and clear. And, when they decry "thoughts and prayers," they are partially right, as many people of faith say those right words and then go about their business.
The division of our country over - name your argument - is metastasizing toward the destruction of what used to be the civil compact we maintained as a nation. Violence and corruption escalates like never before since the the spree of Bonnie and Clyde robbery spree ended in a spray of bullets, and the Capone gang wars during the Prohibition years.
But even then, "thoughts and prayers" translated into waves of revivalism and turning to faith in Jesus Christ, giving moral backbone and power to surviving the Great Depression, and giving the fortitude of facing and triumphing over the Axis powers in World War 2.
So "thoughts and prayers" do have impact after all. But "thoughts and prayers" have to be consistent, and have action to go along with them.
If anybody out there can think of solid, positive action - besides writing new laws, which, like Prohibition, just get violated - step forward now. Don't keep the suggestions to yourself. And be prepared to back up the talk with the action.
I confess I don't personally have the solution, partial or otherwise. "The usual suspects" want to sound off but lead in nothing but complaints and the same tired, old arguments. And lead in practical, Godly ways, by thousands of people led by Jesus Christ, is what some are being called to do. Let the rest of us know and lead us in creative responses. Bind the wounds of the traumatized and wounded. As they say in A.A., take the cotton out of your mouth and put it into your ears and listen to God first, then speak and act for Him.
"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? ... Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead ... As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:14, 17, 26 (NIV)
Let faith live by the life that is lived because of the Message that is received.
My prayers and thoughts are in gear. Anybody want to really join in - instead of saying those right words and going on, business as usual?
Blessings from here to eternity,