Tuesday April 16, 2013
I am sorry I cannot be with you as we journey through the after math of yet another act of profound violence in this country.
By now, many of us are beginning to work through the shock and disbelief of what happened Monday afternoon and some may even be beginning to think this event is not a big deal as we have become desensitized to the loss of life after the massive losses of 9/11, Newtown and the myriad of other events of this nature. But let’s not fool ourselves, any loss of life to violence and terrorism is tragic and horrific.
As I work through the shock and awe of Monday’s terror, the question I continue to hold in my heart is why? Why do people feel the need to make their issues known through the senseless and random act of killing and maiming others? As I ask these questions, deep down I know there are no reasonable answers, just the acceptance that evil continues to exist among us.
Yes, once again, we are witnesses to the manifestations of evil in its darkest form and reminded that evil has no regard for creation or human life. Why someone would choose to do evil over good is a question that has been asked throughout time. As Genesis tells us, the devil has been beguiling humanity since the days of Adam and Eve. Genesis also tells us how crafty and subtle the Devil can be as he fools both Adam and Eve with false promises of how great life can be when we act against God. We also learn how arrogant evil can be when Satan attempts to tempt Jesus with promises of temporal power while in the desert for forty days. Thankfully, Jesus is not tempted, but Satan’s offers could easily have fooled anyone else.
The events in Boston this week have made me more aware of how far from the Reign of God we continue to be and how much work is still left for us as the Body of Christ to do. I realize this is not a time to feel defeated, or to lose hope. Instead, this is a time to strengthen our ongoing commitment to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
In my prayers on Tuesday morning, my mind kept repeating words from John’s Gospel, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). What perfect words to be brought back to this Easter Season. For the past three weeks our Gospel readings have contained the manifestations of these words. Whether it is Jesus calling to Mary just outside the tomb, Jesus showing his wounds to Thomas, or Jesus eating with the Apostles by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, John’s message is clear, not even the darkness of the cross and death can extinguish the light of God in this world.
I have also found comfort in our readings from the Book of Revelation. In it, John of Patmos describes the vision of our hope as Christian people, when he discusses the descending of the New Jerusalem. A city he tells us where there is no darkness, just the light of God. A place he tells us where all who have washed in the River of Life have gathered to worship the Lamb (God). This is the Reign of God that we wait for, that we prepare for and most of all that we work towards as the Body of Christ, and live as if it is already in existence today.
In the days and weeks to come, as the shock and numbness of Monday’s terror abates, the numbness will be replaced with a heightened sense of anxiety and anger. All of us will want justice to be served and many will wish for revenge. These feelings are natural and very much part of our human nature. Yes, we need to acknowledge these feeling, but not act on them. For as we know, revenge and further violence only serves to perpetuate and strengthen the resolve of the evil among us.
As a people of God, we are called to respond to evil with love, compassion and divine justice. This we can start doing today with prayer. In the days and weeks to come I encourage everyone to be diligent in prayer. . . to pray for the repose of the souls of the three who have died and for the comfort of their families. . . to pray for the physical healing of those who are wounded. . . .to pray for the emotional healing of all who were directly involved with the blasts and for those or us who suffer vicariously . . . . to pray not only that those who perpetrated this act of terror are brought to justice, but also, that they may find true repentance and remorse and seek reunion with God. Finally, I invite you to pray for the peace of God and the healing of this world from the wounds of evil.
Yes, the Light does shine in the darkness, and through you and me, with God’s help, the darkness cannot overcome it!
In peace and Love,