We were at a dinner at a place we both enjoy. A television screen in the bar area was showing a soccer game, or so I thought, when I noticed the headline underneath: BREAKING NEWS. That headline is used so often on our local stations that it could have meant a traffic jam on the interstate. Instead, it was actual news this time, of the devastating terror attack in Paris.
At home, I clicked on CNN to get details of what was going on. We’re an informed people these days, we are.
I’d shown my support like we all do these days. I’d taken to social media, uploaded an image to Instagram with trending hashtag #prayforparis
This morning, we watched from bed any new developments of this tragedy. A couple of interviews with ‘intelligence’ types, reporters who have descended on Paris, the requisite video taken from mobile devices and an account from a survivor.
We had our debate as to the line between giving the terrorists the publicity they must want and the information the public needs. Wants and needs, always a fine line.
All the while this is playing I’m on Twitter to see the latest there. I found what I needed, not what I expected. It was on Andy Crouch’s feed and simply said The Media and the Massacre, #silent and a link to a post. Silent? I was intrigued. I clicked the link.
At first I was confused as the name mentioned wasn’t connected at all with the Paris attacks and I realized this post was written after the assault on the elementary school in Connecticut. Another time we were drawn to our televisions and couldn’t get enough news about this unspeakable act we’d continue to speak about.
“The quest for more talk, more images, more footage (none of which would ever satisfy our lust for understanding, no matter how graphic police and producers allowed them to become) is rarely about the quest to more deeply contemplate the brokenness of the world—it is the quest to not contemplate it.” Andy Crouch
Crouch hits us hard with these words. He gets it. He gets us. We’d rather think talking is doing when talking is only talk. I suspect it sounds a lot like the teacher in Charlie Brown: “WAH, WAH, WAH.”
“…the only thing that we who are not first responders, pastors, or parents in that community needed to do at that moment: to pray, which is to say, to put ourselves at the mercy of God and hold those who harmed and those who were harmed before the mercy of God.” Andy Crouch
Prayer is mostly silent. Sometimes it looks like folks gathered with candles, singing, but mostly it’s silent.
Mr. Crouch has given us good counsel here. He’s reminded us of the power of presence, even when it seems silence. He reminds us of the one named Immanuel: God with us. Even in his quiet ways, He is here.