An uncomfortable Easter thought. Thank you.

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Popular Culture et al, Religion
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

As a Christian on Easter Day, I saw this on a website, and I fell to thinking. Especially because the final line on the poster I saw, underneath the hands, said, forcefully and somewhat cynically, “So don’t tell me about the power of prayer.”

I was confronted. Made to think. So good on whoever devised the poster, rather agressive though it was. We all need to be made to think, at Easter-time more than ever. An aside to my religious friends: atheists have their messages for us, too.

But, of course, its core proposition is unfair.

When religious people pray, we frequently ask for other things other than peace, an end to violence, an end to sadness and despair, and end to hunger, a fair sharing of the world’s resources, and so on.

In fact, generally, being only human, we are usually asking for messes that we have created in our own personal lives to get cleaned up, or for health and happiness, or even for wealth.

And sometimes, because we ask for things we don’t really need, and as God knows this, then sometimes his answer is therefore silence, or, simply, “No”.

So I cut the bottom line of the poster off. And this Easter Day, when Christians celebrate the simple but astounding belief that death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning, I would like us all to consider that, if we are to spend 10 minutes praying, then we need to spend them praying for others, other than ourselves.

And we then need to spend an equal amount of time, or more, campaigning against the evils of this world. In Jesus’s name, and in the name of our common humanity.

Because if Jesus of Nazareth was anything, he was an agitator. Knowing more than any man before or since how the world could be, he refused to accept the world as it was. He refused to accept violence, and hatred, and selfishness, and pomp and ceremony, and misrule and exploitation of the poor, the weak, the persecuted.

So spend time on your knees, by all means. But spend an equal time or more arguing with our fellows for what Jesus taught us.

Yes, Christians need to get into Church more often, but also to get out of Church more often, into the community. That might be as simple as speaking to friends or work colleagues. Not about how much we’d like to see them in Church, but how much we’d like to see more of Jesus in ourselves, and in them.

That way, we may repair some of the damage done to Jesus’s Church by scandal, selfishness, greed, and pomposity.

And on the need to heal the world, all Christians can agree. The religious and the secular can agree. Christians and Muslims and Jews and Janes and Buddhists can agree. That would be a good start. It might even lead us to heaven on earth.

I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it wreak incredible, mystifying, astounding and inexplicable things. Not once, but often.

But I believe in the power of people modelling Christ much more.

Comments
  1. hi dear.first my english language is little.but for this topic my comment is this that.pray do refresh mind. and pray give me feel that i am not alone and i heave supporter…

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  2. richard dickson says:

    Thx v inspiring.

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  3. […] his blog called Well, this is what I think, Stephen “Yolly” Yolland […]

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  4. jared says:

    praying does nothing

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  5. Tosin Ojumu says:

    I am a Christian. I fully believe in the need to campaign to make the world a better place. I have personally campaigned countless times on various issues, including war, slavery and children starving to death as mentioned in the poster above. However, I take issue with your last sentences:

    “I believe in the power of prayer…
    But I believe in the power of people modelling Christ much more.”

    As someone who has had extensive experience of different christians in different church settings, I believe prayerlessness is a HUGE scourge on the modern, western church. Prayer is not just about getting our messes sorted, but also about being plugged into the essence of God, and communion with Him. How can we expect to model Christ if we are not plugged into who He is?
    The more we pray, that is, the more we really pray, fervently seeking Christ and His character in private, the more we cry over our Bibles, then the more empowered we will be to go out and make a difference, and the more impact our intervention will have. Remember that Jesus the agitator, as perfect as He was, spent lots of His time in prayer:
    Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
    Luke 6v12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God

    Christians need to pray overwhelmingly more, rather than less. It is not a case of prayer OR modelling Christ. It is a matter of first intimacy with Christ then empowerment to truly model His character. To be blunt 10 minutes (per day?) is not adequate even as a warm up. When we start spending more of our nights in prayer to God, then I’m confident we will start seeing more dramatic changes in the world around us.

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    • A thoughtful contribution, Tosin, and I thank you. In general, I am infull agreement with your point. I guess I was pointing the finger of opinion at Christians who pray but who do not model Christ’s other characteristics as well. I am uncertain whether mere contemplation serves any purpose at all, beyond giving the payer-er a sense of belonging. If that contemplation results in a better person, and a more engaged person, who “is Christ” to another person, then all well and good. It’s not an either-or. Or rather it shouldn’t be.

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  6. Tosin Ojumu says:

    PS – and concerning the poster itself – for all they know it’s because of the prayers that things are not twice as bad – that is, who knows how much worse things might be if people were not praying?!

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