The horrific and heroic images at the bomb site on Boylston Street near the finish line at the Boston Marathon will be seared in our collective consciousness for decades to come. Just like the images of the World Trade Center attack on 9/11, school shootings at Columbine and, most, recently, Newton, CT cannot and, perhaps should not, be easily shaken from our memories.
Emotions following these kinds of events run the gamut from grief to gratitude, from anger to compassion, from fear to love. For those of us watching the events from a distance, our hearts ache for those who grieve and those who are healing from wounds, both seen and unseen. We are inspired by the images, like the one I respost here from The Boston Globe, of bystanders offering life-saving help in the face of unspeakable horror and personal danger.
Within hours of the bombing, I began reading stories and reflections from people that warmed my heart and soul. These reflections and stories spoke not to hate and fear, but to the love, compassion and resilience of the people of Boston. (See a few of my favorite stories at the bottom of this post.)
Strangely, these kinds of events always strengthen my beliefs in why I continue to do church. I train and develop leaders who do the work of forming faith for children, youth and families in local churches. I lift up and develop the leadership of youth and young adults in the United Church of Christ. That means I’m at least one or two steps removed from the day-to-day grind of church life. You could easily call me an administrator or even a church bureaucrat.
But, I don’t do this just because I like to develop training programs and counsel people who are considering the weight of God’s call on their lives. I do this because I think that faith has something to say in the midst of the unspeakable violence that we witnessed this week and too many other times during the year. I do this because young and old alike need to feel the hope of the Gospel that teaches us to embrace love, not fear; peace, not vengeance; justice, not oppression.
I do this because I think that forming more people in a faith that helps them live this kind of Christian life can literally change the world for the better. Tell me – why do YOU do the work of church?
Some of the most hopeful responses I read and saw following the bombing. What were some of your favorites?
- A letter from the senior pastor of Old South Church, a United Church of Christ congregation, located right by the bomb site. She writes about how ministry continues, even if they cannot open their doors because of the ongoing investigation.
- Jon Stewart on The Daily Show crediting the people of Boston for solidifying his belief in humanity.
- United Church of Christ pastor and blogger Emily C. Heath reflects on how love wins in the face of violence.
- Images of people being “awesome” following the bombing on the Boston Marathon on Business Insider.
- A Boston Globe Article about marathon runners who helped the wounded following the bomb blast.
- A modern lament Psalm written in light of this week’s bombing by United Church of Christ pastor and blogger M. Malick.