An awful mudslide has killed many people and destroyed a town. This happened in my home area of Washington State, not far from where I was raised, where some family lives, and a short drive from where I was living a few years ago. Not long ago, I took a walk by that river. A real tragedy for the people who live in that beautiful region of America.
I understand that people want to meet in a church and support each other. Yet, I find the calls to prayer troubling:
I know he doesn’t know what else to say. Maybe I would respect that, if he just said that, or said:
“Our fellow countrymen and women are suffering and many have died. Let’s do what we can, and think of them today.”
As the disaster response is already underway, wouldn’t that be enough?
Could we just get to work and help?
Could we all think compassionate, hopeful thoughts?
Do we need to ask a God to help?
I’m not sure what this accomplishes, and maybe it should stop. . .maybe?
There will always be faith and always be prayer, of course. But maybe doing that privately is best.
I know one major reason people pray: they don’t know what else to do! I’m not being disrespectful, just factual.
You’re scared and grieving so you need comfort. That’s human. We all need that at critical times.
In fact, that’s something Chaplains should be good at: being human with people during their most human times.
So, help me understand something:
If YOU “pray for victims,” I’m wondering what you pray? Please explain what that is, how it helps, and what your God actually does in response to your prayer. Really, I’d like to know. And please tell me what your God does BEFORE these tragedies happen. Does He or She act only when there is suffering and death? And only acts when YOU ask? Help me out here. When I used to pray, we would often say, “God be with us” here and now. And, of course, we believed that God WAS with us already, we just wanted the assurance. Not that anything changed, but we felt better. Is that what’s really going on with prayer? Assurance, comfort, so we feel better? If so, people should just be honest and say that. And many of us might feel more comfort and assurance if others didn’t pray so much and simply sat with us instead. . .and helped us rebuild.
In the meantime. . .
I think of the families and hope they are finding comfort from others who listen, assist and grieve with them. Since I’m not right there, I can do no more.