By Jessica Connor
Two sweet-faced young women and a grinning little boy lost their lives doing absolutely nothing but participating in a family-friendly activity: the Boston Marathon. Others now face life as an amputee. Countless more will surely struggle through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All because two world-hating men decided they wanted to make a statement, or something.
The why still isn t clear, and probably will never be clear.
That s the thing about tragedy. You can t tie it up in a bow, explain it and take measures so it never happens again, fix things so the innocent are protected, the end.
Tragedy happens. People cry. People die “ whether from cancer or a drunk driver or as an 8-year-old kid watching the Boston Marathon. Bad things happen. They have since the beginning of time, and they will until the end of time.
In the aftermath of a tragedy, despite all the good-intentioned words we hear about justice, all we can really do is support each other, pray for each other and get through it all with love.
That s what religious groups “ Christian, Jewish and Muslim “ did in the aftermath of the Boston tragedy. At the interfaith prayer service held a few days after the bombing, volunteers wore T-shirts with Do you need a hug? printed in big bold letters, determined to show their brotherly love. Others across the nation participated in prayer chains or posted their love on Facebook or Twitter, all in solidarity with our New England brothers and sisters who endured such a horrific crime.
The United Methodist Church, in addition to reaching out through ministry groups and church services, had a message of caring and hope in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald after the bombings: the image of hands pressed together in prayer, with the words, Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston.
One theme for everyone: reach out and show love.
In times of tragedy, we remember that love is a stronger force than evil and that hope is more powerful than fear, the S.C. Conference website, UMCSC.org, reminds us.
We agree. Praise God. Love prevails.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)