I Put My Hand In Your Hand

“I put my hand in your hand,
so that we can do together, what I cannot do alone” *

By Steve Matthews, Senior Missional Consultant for FaithX

I write this on January 31, and as January ends more than 69 people have been killed in mass shootings in the US this month.  Last night 10 more people were wounded in a mass shooting in Lakeland, FL.  Last week Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by police officers in Memphis.  These figures do not reflect other acts of violence that have occurred needlessly.

My heart and my spirit are heavy.  These are tragic and avoidable actions. In my own small town, I witness violence as well:  in the harshness from the person in line at the grocery store who is frustrated by the lack of attendants and who takes their frustration out on the person at the register, from the system which holds the immigrant to a higher standard even when she has the right credentials. I witness the seeds of violence in the increase of aggressive driving where drivers run red lights, pass where it has been deemed unsafe, and where they honk at the slow response time of the elderly.  Is it violence when so many people hold the banner of “my rights” over and beyond the common good with such vehemence?

I am in no way equating an aggressive spirit with the murders of innocents. Yet, where does physical violence have its roots if not in our hearts?  I feel the agitation and frustration in my spirit too and find myself saying and feeling things that are aggressive and yes sometimes violent.  It is worse than it used to be. It makes me sick.

So what in the world does FaithX have to say to any of this?

We need each other.  We need “antidotal” behaviors and practices that nullify the power of violence and aggression. We need conversation partners. We need trustworthy advocates.  We need people to pray.  We need community.

So much of what FaithX does is focused on helping people find community connections that build toward a common good.  We can help you find other faith communities and like-minded non-profits in your area who can join you in addressing these issues.  We can help you locate vulnerable communities that are most likely to have violence visited upon them.  We can provide consultation and coaching as you accompany your congregation into more life-giving behaviors and partnerships more likely to effect change.

But for today, just pay attention to your own heart and your own intentions.  Remember the adage, “Even God can’t steer a parked car?”  So, get moving in some small way.  What acts of kindness, advocacy, courage, and healing will you commit to today? How will you tender your heart to your neighbors and community?

*Full prayer found here.