In a confessional moment in last Sunday’s sermon I remarked that recent events, particularly the mass murder in Las Vegas that had occurred just before I began to write, left me bereft of ideas of how we might respond to the mess of our world, and frankly weary of having to try. But then I read Friday’s column by my good friend, Dr. Dave Fry, pastor at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church just down the street from us, and felt encouraged to continue in whatever small ways are open to me to show God’s love.

In case you weren’t present on Sunday, or even if you were, I think Dave’s thoughts will help you also to keep on keeping on. With his permission, here is his column, “Fry on Fridays”:

9 Ominously, like a lion in its lair, he lurks in secret to waylay those who aer downtrodden.  When he catches them, he draws them in and drags them off with his net.

10 Quietly crouching, lying low, ready to overwhelm the next by his strength,…

12 Arise, O Eternal, my True God. Lift up Your hand.  Do not forget the downtrodden….

17 O Eternal One, You have heard the longings of the poor and lowly.  You will strengthen them; You who are of heaven will hear them.

18 Vindicate the victims and the injured so that men who are of the earth will terrify them no more.

Psalm 10, The Voice translation, slightly modified.

           Nice Psalm.  But this week I need more than words of prayer; I need to take action.  What on earth can I do about this?  The cries for gun control and retorts of Second Amendment rights have  the repetitiveness of an auto play loop.  I’ll eventually join that discussion, but not yet.  I want to do more than express my opinion about politicians’ debates.

Here are some ideas.  None of them solve the matter of violence; but they’re perhaps a step beyond total helplessness.

  •  I want to attend the next big concert booked for Atlanta, whoever is performing.  (Dear God, have mercy upon me; please don’t  let  it be heavy metal!)   I will purchase my tee shirt, raise my illuminated cellphone, and rock my aged body, not for the musicians on stage but for the people of Las Vegas. I will continue their love of music and keep alive the joy they embraced that evening and allow music to lay its healing touch on my wounds.  I refuse to allow fear to keep me away and isolate me as a citizen of our community and our nation.  I am going to seek out a large crowd and be part of it.
  •  I also want to try to score tickets to an Atlanta United soccer (Excuse me, I mean “futball”) game. Not for the soccer, but for the singing.  I’ve watched on TV, marveling at 70,000 fans on their feet, singing the entire event.  The ones not waving banners have their arms wrapped around each other.  I want to be part of that. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go-jJlGd1so ) I refuse to allow shootings to make me stop treating strangers as neighbors.  More than a possible threat, every person I meet is still a potential neighbor.  I will affirm that faith-truth, even with people I encounter beyond the Stadium.  And if they spell “futball” different from me, I can live with that.
  •  I will attend the next funeral I hear about, even if the deceased is someone I only slightly know.  I will join in the hymns, stand for the scripture, and bow my head for the prayers.  I will weep with those who weep, and refrain from speaking any horrible clichés about this being part of God’s plan.  I will participate in the power of shared pain, for shared sorrow brings us together more than a hundred victory parades.
  •  I will wrestle with God to accept that life is hard, that we are a fragile species, and that the most beautiful people can be taken in a split second.  No gun control or right to bear arms will make us safe; no security procedures will remove all danger; no theology will explain it satisfactorily.   Nevertheless, I will try to continue to trust in God, the Prince of Peace for my well-being, even as I continue to seek effective actions to take.