March for Our Lives: Enough is coming. Thoughts and prayers are welcome.

We were marching around Stroudsburg with a surprising number of people who wanted to be in solidarity with the March for Our Lives movement last Saturday. (We can even be glimpsed and heard in the video!). We were chanting:

  • Thoughts and prayers are not enough!

When we got to the corner of Main and the I-80 onramp, a lady in a big black SUV rolled down her window and shouted

  • Jesus is the answer!

The crowd shouted louder.

  • Thoughts and prayers are not enough!

She had a big voice and kept on shouting,

  • Jesus is the answer!

The crowd shouted even louder and then the light changed.

Well, she was right, I guess, depending on the question. If we ask Senator Toomey if he is going to desert the NRA and advocate common-sense gun reform — AT LEAST the ban on assault weapons of all kinds, I doubt that I just want him to answer “Jesus.” If the lady who told us about being caught in a shooting and experiencing the loss of her dear friend and her husband, who died protecting her, asked me what I wanted to do about the flood of weapons that directly caused her emotional and physical disability, I doubt I would say, “Jesus is the answer.” Jesus is the answer, but we are the questioners and answerers who are his hands and feet in the world. He can get specific.

I think the crowd was right, too, depending on what they meant by “enough.” Thoughts and prayers can sound like an insult, if they are meant to be “enough” of a response. The young man from Parkland directly asked Senator Rubio at the CNN Town Hall if he would stop accepting NRA money and the senator would not answer the question. The teens at the DC rally continually pointed out that he and the rest of the government have mostly offered “thoughts and prayers” for the thirty-eight days since the Parkland assault. Tiny fixes that seem like something in relation to nothing have been enacted, but nothing that would save children from dying or save the lady at our rally from having an assault weapon turn her leg, as she said, into ground beef. But if thoughts and prayers are useless, what is enough? Would you like an inquisition about everything? Guns, sex, drugs, consumption of fossil fuels, etc. with you in charge of it? Are you so mad you are not going to stop until you get the power of which you have been so far deprived? Sending thoughts is still kind, unless it is a substitute for action. Prayer is crucial, unless it is just a mask for venality. Don’t throw the heart out with the heartless.

Our march was a bit too strung out to effectively shout the slogans together:

  • What do we want? Gun reform!
  • Protect children, not guns!
  • Hey, hey NRA, how many people died today? (About 96 we were told).
  • No more AR-15s! (outside the gun store shown in the video).

The crowd favorite was

  • Enough is enough!

But my favorite was simple:

  • Vote them out!

It will apparently be uncool not to vote on a lot of campuses this fall.

I prefer democracy to other forms of government, I think. Someday the country may try it. But no form of government will succeed at bringing the world to right unless Jesus holds the answers to its questions. And no one, no matter how passionate or articulate, will do much for democracy unless they think well and they have kind thoughts for others, and unless they pray well and rely on the prayers of others.

As Miley Cyrus sang in DC (wearing clothes this time), the kids all singing along:

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The anthem says, “Enough is not enough for most of us humans. There is always going to be another mountain and I am going to climb them!” Even when we say “enough is enough” I’m not sure we know what we are talking about. What do we really know about what is “enough?” And what do we really mean when we say things like “It’s the climb?” Yes, it is about the climb when we know we have value with every step we take — unprocessed, unfinished and unknowing as we are. But Miley is totally wrong (as she often is – back off people, she is 25) when she says it is not about what is waiting on the other side.

I am not enough; this moment is not enough; we are connected to eternity past and present and we know there is another side. Enough is coming. Jesus is the answer. Thoughts and prayers are welcome, since it is an uphill battle. Every step we take has value because Jesus is walking with us and making love possible.

Even when someone is shouting at you from an SUV and even when a crowd is making you look like a jerk, even when someone sings a misleading song and all the kids know it, and even when someone doesn’t seem to care how hard you try to share your love in your song — enough is coming. Jesus is the answer — and often quite specifically. When Jesus moves through our Jerusalems this week, he will face the same turmoil we usually face. If he dies from an AR-15 provided by Senator Toomey, it won’t be pretty, but the resurrection will be spectacular. Let’s turn our faces into that.

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