Sunday, 17 February 2019

Deeds, Not Words

It is just a year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. Seventeen students and teachers died, and another seventeen were injured. 
2018 was the worst year ever for school shootings in the USA - according to CNN, there's been a school shooting on average every twelve days. 
After Parkland, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, an American screenwriter and Methodist Pastor, was moved to write a biblically based response to politicians who, after every gun massacre, do nothing but send best wishes and empty piety to survivors.
She believes there is no contradiction between the sanctuary and the street when it comes to changing social policies that go against Gospel values. "If we don't follow through on what we say we believe, it's just talk," she said. This past week, Bob and I have been at the annual conference for Baptist pastors and spouses in our area. At the final session, we shared communion, and we closed with Carolyn's hymn. I found the words very challenging
If we just talk of thoughts and prayers
And don't live out a faith that dares,
And don't take on the ways of death,
Our thoughts and prayers are fleeting breath.

If we just dream of what could be
And do not build community,
And do not seek to change our ways,
Our dreams of change are false displays.

If we just sing of doing good
And don't walk through our neighbourhood
To learn its hope, to ease its pain,
Our talk of good is simply vain.

God, may our prayers and dreams and songs
Lead to a faith that takes on wrongs —
That works for peace and justice, too.
Then will our prayers bring joy to you.

This is set to the English Folk tune Waly,Waly - and Carolyn says of her hymn "I give permission for its free use. I only ask that you share it with others."


  1. "Deeds, not words" - so true. It's so easy to say "our thoughts and prayers are with you", but so hard to put it into action in a meaningful way that actually brings about change.

  2. That's a lovely hymn and very true!


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