Is #Run3rd a Prayer?
Sean Astin @Sean Astin
Yes. No. Maybe.
#Run3rd is an invitation to people of all faiths or no faith at all. The basic premise is that we naturally put our own needs first. This is markedly different from most religions which place God above everything. Therefore, #run3rd is not intended to be a formal prayer; rather it is an exchange of sorts between people. The #run3rd dynamic does, however, carry some important similarities to praying. The essence of a #run3rd dedication is an outward sharing of some piece of our self. There is no substance other than an impulse to include others in something special that we feel. Its only tangibility is the backlighting of characters on a Twitter screen, and the notion that somehow we are being seen and heard and appreciated.
When someone asks for dedications, three key dynamics are in play. First, a person requesting that others make dedications is acknowledging that it is right and good to value other people. Second, they are offering to be a repository of sorts for the sanctity of other people’s concerns. Third, the absence of any financial or other contribution places this offer in a unique category strongly resembling prayer. Many faith teachings convey that absorbing the pains and hopes of all beings is critical to achieving heightened spirituality. In this way, the time and consideration that goes into asking for and making #run3rd dedications is an exercise in sentient communication.
Hopefully, the person who makes or places a #run3rd dedication in the Twitter sphere feels something very positive about trusting a little piece of themselves to others. Likewise, the person who reads the many #run3rd dedications should feel a sense of pride and nobility for the privilege of taking the emotional weight of those people’s feelings on board. Carrying the thoughts, hopes, dreams and yes prayers of others, in their minds and hearts, even physically printing them out and toting them in a pocket, completes the #run3rd cycle.
The question becomes, does it matter? If no money is being raised for charity, if there is no doctrinal expectation of providential intervention, then why make #run3rd dedications and why accept those that are made into our consciousness?
The answer is… because. Because the currency of a #run3rd Twitter dedication is the hope or good feeling that comes from knowing that a piece of ourselves is being transmitted to and perceived by others, and that potentially, that act alone will be beneficial in some way. It is a salutation of sorts among mostly strangers in the ether. It’s a type of gesture that can be made that says, for a moment in this busy world, I see you, I note the existence of you and your loved one or cause, and it means something to me. It says I hear you and I accept you. It says that what’s important to you, counts with me. Prayers may derive great power from the collective will of those praying and perhaps in its own way, either with or without the express invocation of God, #run3rd does too.
And it’s hard to work into the body of this text, but the word LOVE deserves a mention!