(Image used with the kind permission of David Hayward at nakedpastor.com)
What is it that we want for the world? I mean, outside our own little personal bubbles, what is it we wish for more than anything?
Yesterday in Church I pondered with my folks why it is we pray to God for the sick to be well, the homeless to be housed, the hungry to be fed and for the world to live in peace. I posed the question, what is it we expect God to do about our concerns? Do we genuinely expect our prayers for the world to be answered with a snap of God’s holy fingers? There have been millennia of prayers being said and that still hasn’t happened. So what is it we expect of God when we ask for these things?
I dearly wish that all these problems could be solved just like that! Poof! No more ill people! No more homeless people! No more hungry people! No more wars….. But this isn’t going to happen. But that’s no excuse not to do something about any or all of these issues. In our pondering yesterday we were looking at Boaz, he prayed for Ruth and became the answer to his own prayers. What a great example for us all. Boaz prayed his blessing on Ruth and prayed that she might find protection. He then goes on to be the one to provide that protection.
In our concerns for the world, how many of us can say that we do more than just pray? Are we guilty of saying our prayers and then doing nothing? Instead leaving it to the political leaders to sort out the mess? This is where the pastoral must get political. If we care about the sick, the homeless, the hungry and want a peaceful world then it is incumbent on us to be the movers in this.
We may not be able to personally sit down at the negotiating table at the UN but we can put pressure on our political leaders to do and say the right things. We may not have the resources to house all the homeless in our neighbourhoods, but we can support churches and charities that provide shelter and other practical help AND we can put pressure on our political leaders to help with long term solutions. We may not be able to feed all the hungry in the world from our own pocket but again we can support organisations and charities trying to ensure the poorest among us has enough to nourish them AND we can lobby our political leaders to contribute to development funds for the poorest nations. We may not have there gifts or finances to personally provide healthcare for everyone but we can lobby for a healthcare system that is fit for purpose and provides the care that we need.
Doing these things we can be the part of the answer to our own prayers. But staying silent on issues of politics doesn’t cut it. We can’t afford to. We can sit back and send up our prayers but we can’t leave it there. Do you think God doesn’t know what a mess his world is in? He is waiting on us to get our act together and be the answer to our own prayers. Being pastoral is political. Being political is being pastoral.
Have a good day dear reader. I am off to answer a few prayers.
Rev Shuna Dicks is a Church of Scotland minister serving a suburban church in Aberdeen. This is her second call and a real contrast to her previous rural church. Married to Neil they have 2 grown up children, 2 delinquent dogs and an elderly cat.
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