More innocent lives taken.
Pervading violence given yet another stage.
Unanswered questions lingering.
With the explosions Monday afternoon
the Boston Marathon changed. All events like this have.
London races next week and we will see the difference.
International races of good will, cut down by the ill will of a few or of one.
I’m not sure why we should not expect it.
The tragedies lately seem to have to wait in the queue.
The security needed now to run the Olympic Games rivals budgets for whole countries.
Why not a city and its famous Marathon too?
I ran the Marathon in Hartford a few years ago.
Thousands of runners. Thousands of spectators.
Thousands of places to hide something sinister; much like what happened on Monday.
But never once in all those strides, did such a thing cross my mind.
There was plenty of security, but now its presence will dominate these events,
giving the impression that a race is safe enough to risk the run.
It wasn’t safe enough on Monday.
At least it wasn’t for those slain, and those whose lives will never be the same.
What must we do to be safe? Can we ever be?
Must we now screen every spectator to watch the event?
Must we now remove every trash can? Every closed space? Every getaway?
In order to try to keep the bad guys away.
When I ran I kept looking. Looking. Hoping. Looking. Hoping.
Until I saw my family around the corner, cheering me on.
I wonder if I ever ran again, could they come to the corner to see. Would they want to?
They gave me the high-five I needed to run on.
I thought about those who ran hoping on Monday.
Who saw their loved ones on the sideline cheering for them.
What are they hoping for now, lying in those hospital beds?
Too much has been taken away.
I thought of children taken quickly to Children’s Hospital as I looked at my own.
What pain were parents experiencing as we watched TV with ours?
I don’t know them. I don’t know their names.
Most of us don’t. But I know they received many, many, prayers.
For those who died this senseless death.
The weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who loved them.
For those who can no longer walk, or see, or hear or reach or grab,
a forever reminder of the hatred given them by an anonymous foe,
Sometimes that is all we can do.
When the world seems to implode and the innocent are taken.
We are left with questions and tears and folded hands.
I’ve seen many posts of people praying.
People I didn’t think knew how to pray.
Maybe they don’t normally pray much.
We welcome them with voices raised weeping out to God.
What will become of them? Of you? Of me? Of us all?
Lament coming from everywhere. Tears shed on a Patriot’s Day.
Tears that cannot wash away the blood stains,
as we remember former Patriots’ call to freedom centuries ago.
Now a different remembrance: of lives taken by cowards.
Of twenty-four hour news coverage with little to say,
and the horror of images replayed again and again.
Where will we look to now? What image can we see?
There was some good on Monday too.
I saw a quote from Mr. Rogers to “Look for the helpers.”
God works through the helpers. I believe that is true.
Yet I saw a response to Mr. Rogers I’ve also come to appreciate.
In tragedy, “look for the helpers.”
On this day they seem to be deployed and effective.
God works in the helpers. But God is also with the forsaken.
God is there standing beside those who feel so utterly alone.
I try to keep seeing it now. God beside us; sheltering us in engulfing arms.
Even now God seems a little closer than we might have thought possible.
Less questions about why things happen; and more standing beside us as things happen.
Because they do happen. And they will. We will not know why. And we are not alone.
Sometimes we won’t be able to answer the question, “Why?”
We can only turn to each other and ask, “What next?”
We might fly our flags in solidarity,
but only our folded hands will bring us together.
We live in a world that seems brutal and malicious.
And making order out of chaos doesn’t seem to make any sense.
Yet when we know we are not alone. There is more at stake than tears.
Then maybe we can show our children, our neighbors, maybe even ourselves:
Hope spreads wider than fear.
Faith drips wetter than blood or tears.
Love embraces tighter than hate.
and prayers bring us together in the mourning.
Peace be among us all,
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16)