It has been a month, at this writing, since the bombs which devastated the finish of the Boston Marathon. One of the realities we are learning from such horrific events is that the human mind and spirit can be damaged by the 24/7 news feed that follows. Or, more specifically, we are learning that folks who were nowhere near Boylston Street (or Newtowne, or …) can find ourselves injured – not just by the grief and sadness that affect us all, but by having our relationship to the world distorted when we cannot tear ourselves away from the news media for days at a time.
Child experts alert parents to the need to shelter children from the drumbeat of dark commentary – but clergy and other helpers know that adults can be equally vulnerable.
The truth is that until God’s reign is fully realized – in a future that’s beyond our knowing – the world will hold such tragic and inhumane deeds. And it seems that recent times have held more than we recall from the past (though, again, our media plays a role in our impressions).
We need a living awareness of a greater truth: this world, and our lives, exist as the gifts of a gracious God.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it…sings the Psalmist (Psalm 24).
The vicious actions of some can’t change this truth. They can’t change the message that God came to us in Christ and shed tears and suffered on our behalf, or that new life rose from the shadow of the cross, or that the response of compassion after something like the bombings is predictably huge.
We can strengthen our faith (and encourage one another) to become aware of God’s 24/7 grace feed. We can sharpen our spiritual senses to see, hear and feel it in the midst of beauty as well as in the valleys of shadows. The days of sun, budding, and blooming we have enjoyed on many days since April 15 are nature’s reminders. The church, with preaching and learning, prayer and fellowship, is Christ’s vessel for this grace.
The next time (and there will be next times) there is a devastating public event, we should remember to separate ourselves from the media coverage enough to remember who we are and Whose we are. And we can be “in training” every day.