Over the weekend, I saw #PrayforParis trending on Twitter, people switching their profiles to the tri-colours of the French flag. I learned about attacks in Bagdad, in Beruit, and now in Kenya. Again calls for more prayer. It seems something happens, and people respond with “I will pray for you.” The phrase, much like smoking, can turn into a hard habit to break.
I do not discount prayer and reflection. We need both, but it’s not enough. I notice people keep going about their day, not questioning why these events happened, beyond good guys/bad guys, and let’s get the latter. As a self-confessed geek, I know life does not resemble the movies. Sometimes the line between good guys and bad guys blur. Kim Davis, for instance, believes she fights the good fight, the hero of her story of upholding Christian values. I met many women like her, people saying they will pray for you, but only if the result comes out in a certain way-namely their way.
Looking back over my faith life, I absorbed some of that thinking. I keep guard to prevent those good intentions turning into another brick on that road to hell. Today’s selection comes from one of my favourite prayers attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. (Although that’s up for debate.) One of the most popular stories, Francis meeting with a sultan in Egypt, has three parts truth, and four parts spin much like a social media feed. The story goes Francis met with a Sultan and goes off into an attempted conversion story, or to start peace talks. The story tells me more about the source than the actual story. Me? I like to think Francis took one look at the fifth crusade, thought it did no better than the last four and tried something different.
He tried talking to the other side. Maybe he attempted to understand them, to see less ‘them’ and more human.
The peace prayer turned into two familiar hymns, one I can still hum during this post. I like Sarah McLachlan’s version, and the tune started up as I wondered what song to feature for Music Monday. Throughout the craziness of life I try, and sometimes fail, to keep three things in mind:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt faith