Grace and Peace to you.
Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts (and Maine, which—go figure— used to be part of Massachusetts). It commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War with the “shot heard round the world” on April 19, 1775 some eight miles from here. It’s thought of as the “birth of liberty,” though it wasn’t so for the guys who got killed. Also occurring these days here is the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. We’re contemplating the death penalty, supposedly making that awful thing better by adding one more killing.
Sad, isn’t it, that we can’t imagine how to be free without killing somebody? Human history is full of human sacrifices on altars, crosses and battlefields. But none of the slaughter seems to have actually set us free, has it?
Meanwhile, on Patriot’s Day we run the Boston Marathon, a race in which everybody cheers for everybody. Everybody wants everybody else to do their best. True, only one person “wins,” but nobody feels like that. In the wake of the bombing two years ago it was even more like that: in the face of violence everybody helped everybody in their distress. What a beautiful way to live.
We always have a choice whether to make demands or offer blessings, to take life or give it. We can fare well without making others fare poorly. We can be free without making somebody else pay for it. We can forgive and not blame, aid people in their challenges and distress, and help everyone do their best. We can live in the Spirit of the one who healed and did not hurt, who blessed and did not curse, who gave and did not demand, who won and did not make anybody lose, who truly set us free on that other spring morning long ago, making the sacrifice heard round the world.
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