Today tragedy struck again as Boston Marathon runners prepared to cross the finish line and spectators cheered on their loved ones. Once again innocent people were hurt and killed at the hands of hatred and anger. I am sad and angry.
I must admit, in the midst of tragedy and hatred and hurt, my first thoughts are usually along the lines of this: “Lord, come quickly. This world is too much for me.”
But as I was challenged and reminded by my friend Ian today, we are not called to run from messiness. We are called to run towards it, to help the hurting and broken and messy. We are called to be Jesus’s hands and feet, and while Jesus’s heart is grieved by the despicable acts of today, Jesus willingly went into the brokenness. And we are called to do the same.
In the middle of the pictures of chaos and pain, there are also pictures, acts of kindness and words that remind us that all is not lost. Video of the explosions show huge crowds of people (very understandably) running away from the blasts. But they also reveal brave runners, staff and spectators running towards the blasts, with less regard for their own well being than those injured. Several thousand people posted contact information on a google doc offering rides, food, bedrooms and encouragement for runners and families needing shelter. There are reports that, after crossing the finish line, some runners continued running to a nearby hospital to donate blood.
Lord, both literally and figuratively, give me (and us, the Church) the courage and compassion to run towards the hurt and the messiness, to be Your hands and feet to the suffering. Though it is clear that this is not where we were created to be, that this broken world is far less than what God created us for, help me to remember that I am here at this time for a reason. Please make me like them, Running towards the messy and broken. Thank you for the helpers today, who remind us that there are reasons to hope.