My heart went out immediately to the victims the dreadful bombing at the end of the Boston Marathon.
I’m a runner, a long-distance runner, and indeed have a very good friend and neighbor who was up there in Boston, running the marathon. I confess that when I got the news I quickly calculated what his marathon time usually is. Would he have been there? Through Facebook his wife let us know he was all right.
Then my prayers went to all those people I don’t know: the EMTs, the runners, the parents of victims, the husband and wives, the hospital workers, the skilled surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the counselors.
O, Lord, be with them. Let them know they are loved by many and by you, God. Be with them as they recover from the trauma. Let them run again, because running itself can be such a celebration of You.
I never run without a psalm or hymn going through my head.
It wasn’t for a few more hours, till this morning, that a new object of prayer came to mind, a much harder one. I confess it came as a reminder from a colleague, one in keeping with a Bible passage I had just read, a message from Jesus.
But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
At this writing, no experts have revealed what crazed person or persons is behind this violent act, and that very uncertainty adds to my distress, but yes, I would characterize them as my enemies, our enemies. Enemies of peace. There it is, though—no squirming out of it: Love your enemies. Pray for them. Without much affection in my heart, I took on the Jesus-mandated task.
I can’t tell you that it’s changed my sorrow or rid me of my horror, but it’s maybe increased my compassion, just a smidgen. I would rather not think I have any enemies in this world—who would?—but to pray in a time of disaster like this is to pray big. Pray for forgiveness, pray for understanding, pray for peace. I pray for those who are suffering and will be suffering for many months to come, and I pray for all of my enemies.