Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thinking of Boston

This has been a very sad week. The drama that unfolded in Boston drew us all into the pain, sorrow and anxiety that flowed through the city. While there is relief that one suspect remains alive and is now in custody, perhaps able to supply answers to the “why” of this tragic act of violence, most of us have become realistic enough over the past decade or so to know that our relief will be short lived. There’s always another danger waiting to make itself known to us.

I know that we have our share of problems and failures here in the US. But I must say that I’m fascinated by how things seemed to play out in Boston. The chief of police appeared to asking rather than demanding that residents stay inside and be willing to inform police of any suspicious behavior they might observe through their windows. From what I understand, people cooperated willingly with that request.

When the owner of the boat where 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding found him there, he didn’t alert his neighbors so that they could pull the young man out and beat him to death and hang his body from a light pole. The man contacted the police and waited.

I suppose there will be things posted on various social media sites that scream for the young suspect’s blood—these things appear to be unavoidable these days. But what I’ve seen so far are posts expressing sorrow that a young person would commit such a heinous act and then have his own life thrown away. People have encouraged us to pray for him just as we pray for those who have suffered at his hand. I am glad for these words.

So, yes, there will be the enacting of justice, if by justice we mean setting things right again (although, that will never quite be the case for those who have suffered. And keep in mind that justice is not the same as retribution). There will be consequences experienced by young Dzhokhar, who will never be free again and is probably grieving the loss of his own brother.

It is sobering for we, who trust our lives to Jesus, to remember who we are in times like this. We are called to care for widows, orphans, the foreigner, and all who suffer. We are also called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. These can be tough assignments, but it is what we do, and must do. Not everyone will do this, but we must. That is how we exist as the light of the world, the salt of the earth. We do this because we follow Jesus, and we also do it on behalf of the rest of the world.

Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on us.

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