I was standing at my desk when I received the first report on my smartphone that there had been a bombing at the Boston Marathon. I paused what I was doing and leaned over to tell my officemate. It was one of those instances when you don’t realize how serious something is until you share it with someone else and you are able to witness their initial and raw reaction. As did many people around the US and the world upon hearing the terrible news, we both let out a gasp of despair and sent up a quick prayer for all those involved.
In the days following the tragedy in Boston, I was struck by a solemn confirmation that through communal despair, fear and righteous indignation… we truly believe that we are all in this together. We are connected. No matter if we knew someone involved in the incident, we can’t help but feel invested. We feel as if we have something at stake in the community thousands of miles away. We often stretch ourselves to justify our connection with an event, we know someone that knows someone involved. We feel the need to further justify our heart in its mourning for people we really don’t know, in a place that is far away. But why? Do we really need to prove our devotion? To justify our mourning?
I think our common humanity justifies itself. I think the same feeling that leads us to mourn for the victims in Boston is the same feeling that Christ places inside of us to “care for the orphan and the widow in their distress.” While some tragedies are acute and cut deep (such as Boston or September 11), others are consistent and wear us down. And let there be no mistake, there are many ongoing tragedies that happen every single day. But our responses to both types of tragedies should be similar. They are opportunities for the grace and love of God to shine in the darkest of hours.
As reports started to flow in of the bravery and compassion by those who attended to the victims of the Boston bombings, I was reminded to the similar outpouring of love in response to the earthquake in Haiti, or the tsunami in Indonesia. When our basic instinct tell us to run away, we are often drawn towards our hurting brothers and sisters. Maybe it is God’s intention to use these terrible instances of pain and suffering to pull us together. And while that is not always how it turns out… and nor do we hope pain and suffering upon anyone… we must acknowledge that God does something very beautiful in the wake of tragedies such as these.
This is why Food for the Hungry exists. We are called respond to the pain and hurt of global poverty in ways that create hope and love.
We are all in this together.
If you are interested in responding to poverty and to love the most vulnerable people in world, please visit our website.