Over the last few days, the world has mourned the Paris attacks. I’ve been silently watching the events unfold. ISIS is as organized as a beefed-up, world-wide mafia and that has many people uneasy. No one knows where they will strike next.
My Facebook feed has been full of reactions. Many have changed their profile picture to a French flag overlay, showing solidarity with a country who showed solidarity with us when we were attacked September 11, 2001. Others prefer not to do that, citing the many other countries who have suffered at the hands of ISIS and feeling that showing solidarity with one country shows disregard for the others. Some people are publicly praying, some people are itching to put their military uniform back on and give ISIS what-for, and others are simply trying to deal with a world that has shrunk through social media, allowing us to see in real-time the horrors that we as humanity are capable of.
As an American, safely ensconced in my little home, I have no idea of what victims of terrorism go through. I have no idea what it feels like to constantly live under the fear of bomb sirens, automatic gunfire, and worry that at any moment, men with guns will come bursting through my front door, annihilating anyone standing in their way. It’s hard to imagine the shock at being in a sports arena or a concert hall, only for it to explode, killing the people sitting next to me. I can’t understand it, I can’t know first-hand. I’m not able to don an armed forces uniform and exact revenge. I can’t physically comfort those who have lost loved ones. I can’t save the prisoners who are doomed to be beheaded any given day.
But I can pray.
And I can let them know through this post that they have the prayers, the love, and the thoughts of one little American who wishes she could do more.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; united us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, Prayer for the Human Family, p. 815