Thoughts, Prayers and Presidents


 Today is Presidents' Day; a US Federal holiday.  While I will never turn down a holiday/day off, for me today is also a day of reflection of those 46 men who have served our country. (Some served well; some not so, but that's not the point of today's post.  And as an aside, while I’m slightly off topic, I hope that someday I will be able to say that Presidents’ Day is a day of reflection of the PEOPLE who have served the office.)

Two Presidents featured prominently in this morning's news:  former President Jimmy Carter and current President Joseph Biden.  Why were the 39th and 46th presidents in the news on this day?  President Biden secretly flew to war torn Ukraine, where the people have been fighting off Putin's invasion for a year now.  Former President Carter has decided to receive hospice care at home.  This got me thinking about something that both men have in common; and I'm not talking political party.  I'm talking about faith.

Both men are Christian, one Catholic and one Baptist, but it is not specifically their religious branch that made me think about this.  It was how they put their faith into action.  How they have drawn on their faith (which in this case may be Christianity, but in my opinion doesn't have to be) to be leaders.  

We have seen both men in religious settings.  We know that both attend church.  They have both offered thoughts and prayers as part of their faith, but they have not LIMITED their faith to words.  I believe their faith has called them to action.  (Which is what I feel thoughts and prayers call us to do; ACT.)  So while President Carter may pray for the homeless (yes, I am making an assumption there), his prayer has called him to action as he worked with Habitat for Humanity, not just as a figurehead, to build homes.  President Biden may pray for the people of Ukraine (again making an assumption), but he has gone to the country while it is under siege and not just pledged support, but with the aid of our Congress, delivered.

It is MY belief, that our strongest and most effective leaders (not just presidents) are men and women of faith (again, I am NOT talking about Christianity, but faith).  Men and women who can offer their people comfort with thoughts and prayers, but realize that both require action.  People who will take the time to think/pray about an issue and then take action.  People who realize that prayer is NOT a magic wand that makes things “better”, but a way to connect with the universe and be propelled towards appropriate action.

When someone is sick, our thoughts and prayers appropriate.  When someone is injured, offering thoughts and prayers are good, but getting that injured person medical help is better.  (Or perhaps even better would be to pray as you take that person to a hospital or medical facility.)

The "faithful" may offer thoughts and prayers, but in my opinion, people of faith go beyond that and into action.  

Am I a person of faith?  I'd like to think so.  It's not because I go to church regularly.  It's not because I pray for the people of Ukraine.  It's not because I help pack up supplies that will go to the Ukraine. (Note:  Supplies that are specifically requested; just sending "stuff" doesn't count in my book.)   I consider myself a faithful because I do all of these.  And I will continue to do this and more for as long as I am able, for that to me, is what faith is about.


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