Now is the time to pray.
And pray that we may be ONE.I bet you think you know what’s coming next.
You’re expecting another “hot take” on the current race conversation aren’t you?
Well, we’re not going to go there. Not because it’s not important. (It’s probably the most important conversation the global community has had in my lifetime).
But because we’re not experts. We don’t have any right to tell you what to think. Our experience as white (almost to the point of transparency in certain light…think of a newborn fish!) Irish folk musicians does not translate very well into making us leading voices as civil rights activists or political commentators. We have opinions of course. Ones that we’re very passionate about - if you care to know what they are just scroll back a little on our feed on Instagram. But at the end of the day that’s what they are: opinions. And I’m pretty sure you’re hearing enough opinions, soundbites and smart-alecky meme arguments from both sides, and from sources way more authoritative than us.
What we want to do right now is pray.
Some of you just got tense. Maybe that strikes you as a lame or limp response to the state of the world. But at its best prayer is not an alternative to real world action - prayer and protest have a longstanding partnership by the way. We don’t have to pray instead of taking action - we can pray as well as taking action. But we certainly don’t do anything WITHOUT prayer which is what we feel the danger could be right now. So we join with words straight from Jesus’ lips.
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one.”
As people who grew up during the Northern Irish “Troubles”, we know all too well what division looks like. At times it has looked like petrol bombs flung in the name of “correct” theology. Or plastic rounds fired into a crowd of people with an unpopular take on politics. Or imposing 40 foot high walls separating communities with barbed wire and distrust. And I can tell you that it has had a devastating impact on the church in Ireland/N.Ireland. In fact if I didn’t believe in miracles, I would probably call it irrecoverable damage.
For most of us in this season, divisiveness won’t look as dramatic and militarised as this. But every time we post a meme that dismisses another person’s perspective in a snide way, or leap on someone and verbally mug them in the the comments section, we’re resisting Jesus' prayer for us to be One. Even if we’re right, we’re wrong if we don’t have love.
So we don’t offer our opinion right now.
Because it doesn’t really make any difference whether or not we agree with each other,
whether we see eye to eye,
or whether we watch the same news channel.
The only way through this is to offer our love regardless,
and pray that we may be ONE.