Powerful helplessness

I remember standing outside Lurgan Hospital.  It was Christmas Eve and I had been visiting a parishioner who was in the last stages of terminal illness.  The retired priest who worked with us was with me and he said something like, ‘Can’t just be spectators in the face of suffering like that.  You have to pray the prayer of faith.’  So I watch John Sentamu with admiration as he takes a week of prayer and fasting in the Minister and invites others to join him.  We’re helpless.  Others who allow themselves the luxury of seeing complex historically-rooted problems in simplistic ways can shape the agenda.  Terrorists, who have cut loose from any sense of the personal or societal cost of their actions, make their plans.  We’re helpless.  Unless we take a stand on behalf of the redemptive power which is above … beyond