But I got to thinking. Somehow the balance is wrong: we pray for the safety of one knowing that that means someone else’s son is dead. It is as if saying yes to Jim is saying no to someone else, someone unnamed, unknown. Such prayer plays havoc with any hope of praying for the good.
The question is how to pray for both Jim and everyone else. That prayer for everyone, Jim included, only makes sense before the bad news comes of this or that attack or disaster. If the prayer of petition is not at the same time a prayer for this rather than that person to be counted among the dead, it has to become a prayer for prevention. Then it can also be a prayer that has active implications.
Another sort of prayer, preventative prayer, gives voice to my wish that I not have to choose in the moment between the son of a friend and the son of someone I don’t know. So today, Saturday, in spite of not wanting to stand around in the cold, Kathryn and I, along with friends from the Lewes Silent Vigil, joined a whole lot of people in
As an active prayer it was only an opening prayer. The real preventative prayer is what we might think of as waging preemptive peace. A lot of the signs today said, “Stop the Surge.” But in the middle of the crowd there were those who cried, “Surge for Peace.” There were quite a lot of us, and the surge will be felt more and more as this war drags on.
A thought: The Heavenly Hosts, the crowd of voices sounding like wings beating, that surround the One who is our Peace, can be imitated by regular paid up folk who wage preemptive peace, who surge forward. And when we do so, it is, among other things, to voce the cry that we will not be content to choose between the child of a friend and the children of all.
Be well, Jim and mother Susan. God protect you. And God help us all.