Remebrance-18-3
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
Scouting-for-Girls7
Torch-2012-05-23093-
FROSTY-MORNING-
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09------30
D4S9273
Civic-Service-18
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Duke-of-Kent086
Sunset
Gordon-and-Sam
Turin-Brakes6
D812668
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
Brazier
SBJ
IMG8472
YELLOWHAMMER-473-
IMG9097
BABRURY-XC-JUMP-473
Remebrance-18-2
MBORO-HOCKEY-YOUTH-473
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Inbox2
Big-Bull
Ogbourne
Animals06
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
Sunset2
4MI-2013-11-28030
Snowy-High-Street
Hares017cropped
Mop-Fair---10-10-09------08
White-Horse
Roving-Crows1
MYFC005
D4S0472
Tina-May5
Pete-Gage-Band1
Brooks-Williams1
Camilla-MSM
Remebrance-18-1
TdB-Pewsey044
JazzFestSat572
Landscape
George-Wilding-301
Inbox-1
EARLY-MORNING-CANTER-473-
Musical-Time-Machine5

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prayer after Westminster: A Pause in the Action

In the immediate aftermath of the attack in Westminster, a number of those issuing statements about the events said how ‘our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families’.

It is common for such sentiments to be expressed after any tragic loss of life and in that sense they are a striking reminder of the human instinct to prayer.  Furthermore the assurance of offering prayers in these circumstances will not be out of place on anyone’s lips.  It is a democratic, universal instinct not the preserve of the religious specialist.

For all that, however, perhaps it is worth exploring what the suggestion ‘our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families’ does or does not amount to.

Clearly it cannot be a way of telling God what he already knows and nor in these circumstances is it a way of trying to persuade an otherwise reluctant God to see the world from the same perspective as ourselves.  Rather it is placing people, especially people whom we might not know, in a bigger context and just ‘leaving’ them there.

In that sense holding victims in our thoughts and prayers is a way in which we slow ourselves down and resist the rush to judgement.

When Seamus Heaney was once asked what contribution poetry might make to the political process, he said poetry’s gift was to offer ‘a pause in the action’.  Perhaps that is the gift of prayer as well; a time when there can be a collective slowing down and our own thoughts and preoccupations give way to silence and space.

Nowhere is this better expressed than by the Welsh poet priest, RS Thomas:

The Other

There are nights that are so still
that I can hear the small owl
calling
far off and a fox barking
miles away. It is then that I lie
in the lean hours awake listening
to the swell born somewhere in
the Atlantic
rising and falling, rising and
falling
wave on wave on the long shore
by the village that is without
light
and companionless.  And the
thought comes
of that other being who is
awake, too,
letting our prayers break on him,
not like this for a few hours,
but for days, years, for eternity.

Print

TdB-Pewsey044
D812668
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
Hares017cropped
Ogbourne
Tina-May5
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Gordon-and-Sam
White-Horse
Landscape
Mop-Fair---10-10-09---08
ARKManton-2012-01-1449-
Snowy-High-Street
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
IMG8472
George-Wilding-301
Pete-Gage-Band1
Remebrance-18-3
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09---30
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
Animals06
Musical-Time-Machine5
Civic-Service-18
Remebrance-18-2
D4S0472
4MI-2013-11-28030
Sunset
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Brooks-Williams1
CivicSelfie1
SBJ
JazzFestSat572
Duke-of-Kent086
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08---07
Scouting-for-Girls7
Torch-2012-05-23093-
MYFC005
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Remebrance-18-1
Turin-Brakes6
IMG9097
Brazier
D4S9273
Camilla-MSM
Big-Bull
Roving-Crows1
Sunset2