Yet another terrorist bomb. More predictable responses from government and media. Already, network art departments are designing background graphics to promote their newscasts and experts are deciding on a catchy name for the story. Already, expressions of sorrow and determination have been issued, quoted and re-quoted. Already, are first responders honored, makeshift memorials bedecked with flowers, funerals planned, security efforts tweaked. It’s what we do. The whole process has become stylized. There is a ritual for it. And people will become more accustomed to the tragedy, no longer able to fully feel the outrage and frustration. We feel helpless to do anything that will truly make a difference.
Jesus told us what to expect and what to do. Here’s what He said we could expect:
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12)
Here’s what He taught us to do:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)
Perhaps it seems strange to ask God, all sovereign and all powerful, to do what He has already willed to do. I don’t know how prayer impacts the accomplishment of God’s will, only that Jesus taught us to do it. So, let’s do. Urgently – and paying full attention to the meaning of what we are asking. Yearning for that day to come.
There was a church that broke ground for a new building with an old plow to which several hundred slender strings had been attached. They invited everyone to take a string and, when the command was given, to pull. No one of those people or strings would have been strong enough to move that plow. But together, it jumped through the soil and chewed it up with ease. When Jesus taught us to pray for the Kingdom to come, He handed each of us a string and gave us the command.