Someone bombed the Boston Marathon this week.
I read the story with one hand over my mouth in silent horror. I wish I could say that I was shocked by the attack, but I wasn’t. I was broken-hearted and left breathless.
But I wasn’t surprised.
We live in a world where violence isn’t just normal, it’s expected. A boy killed twenty children in a Connecticut elementary school. A man who dressed up like the Joker to shoot people in a Colorado movie theater. And that’s not even touching on 9/11, the attacks now over a decade old.
We’re living in a warzone.
I can’t fathom the amount of pain it takes to want to take someone’s life, let alone the lives of dozens, or hundreds. I can’t imagine what that reality might look like. I can’t understand why hatred is more appealing than community or hope or love. And to be honest, I don’t ever want to understand.
So I propose that dangerous times call for dangerous measures.
While we mourn with Boston, we have a choice to make. We can focus our eyes on the perpetrators of evil, terrified of what may come next. We can wonder if some violence of this magnitude will ever happen to us, to our families, to our homes. We can build walls of seclusion around ourselves, separating ourselves from each other and the ones who may need us most.
Or we can remember that the NBC Sports Network broadcast reports of marathoners who finished their race only to continue running to Massachusetts General Hospital to give blood, not knowing if they might be attacked again on the way. Or if their friends made it out alive.
Or if their blood might save someone who tried to kill them.
We can decide (choose, resolve, determine) to be one of the people who choose to give life rather than take it, even under terrifying conditions.
We can choose life and love over hatred and death.
We can choose to be a people who–despite circumstance and tragedy and anguish–decides to show love, even if it asks much of us. Even if it costs us everything.
Because that’s what Jesus did for us, indiscriminately, unreservedly.