I woke up early this morning to an ongoing drama that, objectively speaking, seems like something right out of a movie or a season of the television program “24.” However, being in the heart of this crisis — I currently live a little less-than one mile from where the shootout unfolded last night and the investigation continues in Watertown — I can say that what seems like a movie, what nevertheless appears surreal, is quite real and startling. Things here are extraordinarily quiet, which gives my neighborhood an eerie feel that reinforces the bizarre and tragic events that continue to unfold. I and all of my friends in the area are safe and sound, held up in our respective residences, likely glued to Twitter, Facebook, and news outlets awaiting information that might offer a glimpse of forthcoming normalcy.
It’s hard to believe that more lives have been lost, more fear has been elicited, and a sense of vulnerability and insecurity prevails. At this point, this appears to be caused by one person — let this be a negative lesson about what a difference one person can make. Yet, the converse situation is as true — each person, every person can make a difference for the better too! The way in which the City of Boston and the outlying neighborhoods have responded to the Governor and law-enforcement-agencies’ instructions is impressive. I continue to be proud of my neighbors and fellow residents of this city and I hope and pray that this crisis will come to a safe conclusion soon.
What leads a young man to do something so terrible? Why bring such harm to strangers? These and other questions aren’t easily, if ever, answered. But as Christians, we can — as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, referring the Abraham — “hope against hope.”
Our hope is not an empty hope, a superficial desire to get what we want or “have it our way.” Christian hope finds its foundation in the proclamation that we believe in a God who is for us, who is concerned about us, and who calls us to be agents of God’s Reign.
This Reign of God is exercised in the peacemaking, loving, and reconciling that Francis of Assisi writes about. This Reign of God is brought to bear in a world that suffers terrible pain and grief as it does today in Boston when we live as the “light of the world” and instruments of peace.
While we in Boston are all affected by this continually unfolding tragedy, let us not grow bitter and closed to the Christian hope that proclaims that death does not have the last word, that light is not overcome by the darkness, and that we can make a difference for the better.
Let us pray for the safety of all in harm’s way, a metanoia of heart for the fleeing suspect, consolation for those who mourn the senseless loss of life and limb, and peace in our city, nation, and world.