I am teaching a confirmation course at my church. While my schedule is hectic on Sunday mornings, I am very grateful to take some time with our amazing youth members. If they are the leaders of the future, our church will be just fine. My hope is that they never lose their creative powers as they search for answers to life’s toughest questions.
We were talking on Sunday morning, and as we ended our time together, I asked them if we could pray for the situation in Paris. One of the students responded that we should also pray for the terrorist. What shocked me was the fact that this twelve-year-old child spoke with such incredible compassion. Our prayers should be for all of humanity, including the people that are so lost that they cannot even see which way is right.
One of the things that I try to teach my congregants is that our God is so much more powerful than we can possibly imagine, and that divine love can tear down walls while at the same time rebuild hearts and souls. While we should never, ever condone acts of violence and hate, we can pray for the hearts of everyone involved. Our anger must give way to empathy. This is difficult and for many, next to impossible.
And as for my mighty congregation, I prayed that our God rise up over the chaos of hatred and intolerance, and create a new space filled with beauty and goodness. Praise be to the One, who delivered us into the light, to strengthen us and give us a new day filled with promise and possibility. In the presence of the Almighty God is where our faith dwells. In the mouths of the little ones we may find wisdom.