Not sure where you were when you heard the news on Monday. I was at the church office. My tablet buzzed on the desktop like when I’m getting an email. But it was actually an update from my USA Today app: “Blasts heard at the sight of the Boston marathon.”
I knew. I just knew. This was going to be bad.
And as the story poured out over the news the next few days… like you, I was in shock. And I was filled with sympathy for the victims,… But also there was this angry, cranky thing that began to develop. This normally calm and collected, peace loving pastor was getting increasingly hot. It was kind of a simmer because it was a “I’m in denial” kind of mad. Eventually I was able to get in touch with my feelings.
And I took them to God.
Reading my Facebook newsfeed it seemed that everyone from my family members to friends to complete strangers and even corporate entities were offering words of comfort to the people of Boston. But even so… there was this underlying bubbling up of rage.
One late night comic said: “I know it is my job to make you laugh. And I know some people need to watch TV or something to get their mind off of such things. But I don’t want to. I’m angry.”
Tuesday, as I was working on my Sunday sermon, I became increasingly convinced that I needed to change my topic from Christian friendship to the subject of evil.
I don’t usually preach topically. I don’t usually preach on current events. But I believe that some needs need to be addressed from the pulpit. Not just because of Monday’s events… and not just because of the increasing onslaught of violence America has been experiencing, but because we as believers need to be prepared to talk to our neighbors, our co-workers, our hair-cutters, our unsaved family members, etc. in a time like this.
Many lives were saved at the Marathon that day because of a large number of first responders already present there at the finish line. Not only were they close to the events to offer aid but these workers and others at Boston area hospitals had already been training for just such an unfortunate event for years.
How about us? Are we as believers prepared if something like this happened close to home? At a Titans game? At our block party? In our family home? What is the right response? I’m pretty sure seething about it isn’t the solution. So I went to the Scriptures.
Over the next few week or so, I will humbly offer some of what I found. I hope it is a comfort. For now, I have posted an old sermon of mine (“How God Will Deal With Evil”) on my sermon download page. I included an article by Mel Lawrenz, titled: “Facing Treachery, Again” on my “Around the Web” page (see tab above). And Sunday from the pulpit I will preach on this topic and hope to post that sermon next week as well.
In the meantime, I want to share where God stands on Boston’s events. He stands against those behind this terror (as of this writing, one suspect is dead and the other is in hiding). Out of the seven things Proverbs 6:16-19 says that God hates are: “…hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that devises wicked plans.
and “Feet that run rapidly to evil.”
As to how God feels toward the victims? Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” As those who claim to be God’s children… let us prepare our hearts as we near those hurting in our world today.