Sermons

The Strength to Withstand Not Knowing Why

I am praying and wishing and hoping for… what?  It is so hard in times like these to know what it is to ask for, what it is to wish for, what it is to do.  Of course, there is the wish that we have that it didn’t happen, that we could take it all away, and that we could prevent it from ever happening again.

So when my heart and body and breath quiets down, when I stop checking the internet for the latest update, which is hardly different then the one two minutes before, here are the prayers I find:

  • for the prevailing of even tempers and cooler heads.
  • for lots of caffeine love and purifying tears for the first-responders.
  • that anyone assuming this is an act of Islamic terrorists take a step back, take a deep breath, and to wait.  I remember the assumptions I made when the bombing in Oklahoma City happened and how useless they were, whether I was right or wrong.
  • that I will always be able to assure my children that they are safe, and I am grieving that this is already gone from me – I am praying to find consolation among the company of so many in the world for whom this has long been truth.
  • for the reminder to look for the helpers and that I see them and can point them out to others.
  • for the families in Pakistan who have lost loved ones from drone strikes directed by the U.S. military.  Though there is no evidence of any connection between this and that, my heart and faith tells me that we live as part of an interdependent web of existence.  If for no other reason, we are connected by tragedy and the loss of innocent life, by unanticipated explosions that rock our world and rob us in much too intimate ways.
  • for the urge to join others – in real life and online – that if I am going to be changed by this, that I be changed by the company of peace-seekers, no matter how angry, betrayed, and hurting – rather than the isolation of disconnection, bafflement, and numbness.

I am not praying to know why, but for the strength to withstand not knowing why without my heart turning bitter or hard.  I say this prayer not just for myself, but for all the leaders – in the city of Boston, in the Commonwealth, in our nation – and for the survivors, for their families, and for the victims, and for their families.  I think I will be saying that prayer over and over in the coming days and weeks.

Lynn Ungar posted this just hours after the blasts in Boston.  I found some solace in it and so encourage you, too, to read it.  And this, from a dear friend: “This world tests my faith mightily. Good thing I have a mighty faith.”

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