Grace and Peace to you.
After yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombings, people around the world are praying for this city, and the people affected by the violence. But don’t stop there: pray for the whole world. After all, it’s really the world’s marathon. I’ve been there near the finish line, surrounded by people of every nation. As the winner runs by, a crowd breaks out in the national anthem—of Kenya. I’m sure you noticed all the international flags in the news videos. It’s the whole world’s race. And today we’re a part of the whole world’s pain. We share the trauma and grief that much of the world lives in every day. This is not Boston’s unique pain. It is everyone’s. Pray for the the healing of the world.
People say, “Be strong.” We will, yes, we will. But the world does not need strength. What the world needs is kindness. The world needs people who have the courage to be gentle, even when those around them are full of rage and despair and violence, who refuse to join the world’s bitterness. The world needs people who choose love over fear. That’s the only thing that will actually change the world.
It’s not easy. Love is not quick, and does not produce immediate results. It’s a marathon. It takes dedication and training and a lot of commitment. It’s not for the faint-hearted. As Gandhi said, if you are too cowardly to be nonviolent, by all means take up arms to fight for justice. Love takes guts. It takes faith, confidence that a greater love is at work even when we cannot see it. And it takes patience, like a marathon — the willingness to go the distance, to keep at it when your body cries, “Quit!,” when your mind thinks of better things to do, when pain and weariness make you want to give up —it takes guts to keep going anyway. The Via Dolorsa is the toughest race. To share in the world’s pain and sadness, and still keep up hope and love — that is the world’s oldest marathon. The good news that we do not run alone. Nor do we run on our own energy: we are moved by the desire of God for the healing of the world.
Pray for those who are in pain today. Pray for the world, and for each of us, for the spirit of peace, for the courage to love in the face of fear and be gentle in the face of violence, for the guts to be part of the mending of the world. Pray for those who are hurting, for those who are afraid, for those who are in sorrow. Pray for all of us, that we may make gentle this wounded world. Even now the Lamb of God is moving among us, never giving up, keeping on with unflagging love and tenderness. Take heart, breathe deeply, and keep going.
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