Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God… Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; God’s understanding is unsearchable. God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40)
Once again the news fills our computer screens and televisions with the aftermath of a tragedy in the Northeast. From Hurricane Sandy, to Sandy Hook, and now to Boston, tragedy has crept up our coast these past few months and struck again before our wounds quite have time to heal, before we quite have time to catch our breath, before our questions have found the answers they might never find.
Overwhelmed with the loss around us, we feel once again the need to respond – we cannot see what we have seen, we cannot hear what we have hard, we cannot feel what we have felt without doing something. And in the midst of that emotion, I am continually reminded by friends, each time we see suffering on our television screens, that they see suffering on their streets everyday. It becomes quite clear that the need to respond is not going to go away – it is more than a response that we need – more than a reaction – it is a lifestyle.
As I was reflecting on the posts on my Facebook, as I was encouraged to see friends in Boston committing to run “Boston Marathon: the Last Five”, the verses above came to mind. Words that speak hope into any and every moment of tragedy, exhaustion, and pain.
When we have no strength, we have a God who “does not faint or grow weary”
When we have no answers, we have a God who’s “understanding is unsearchable”
When we have no power, we have a God who “strengthens the powerless”
When we fall exhausted, we are lifted up on “wings like eagles”
We are called to live a lifestyle that draws us into relationship with God and with one another; and it is out of that lifestyle that we respond, not reactively or passively, but naturally.
So get up and run today. Whatever it is that means to you. Whether it means signing up to come together with people to run in an event in honor of the victims, to join hearts and hands both in mourning loss and insisting upon hope. Or whether it means engaging in silent solitary prayer for peace throughout the world. Whether it means reaching out to someone who seems isolated or seems to be headed down a path that may be harmful to themselves or others. Do these things to honor and mark the lives that have been lost, as leaders throughout the scriptures piled stones in memory and in honor. But do not leave it as a reaction and return to your normal life. This is more than a response, it is our lifestyle. A life not of reaction but of consistent, unwavering action for peace and healing, running alongside the One in whom we find our strength.
Today more than ever we speak in hope and we act in hope, we offer comfort and we receive it. Knowing that tomorrow we will wake up and do it again.
Boston, Massachusetts, New England, Bishop Devadhar, Rev. LaTrelle Easterling, clergy of the Boston Metro HOPE District and surrounding area, laity that lead its churches, Stephanie Deckard & the students of Boston University, and all those upon whom the responsibility to respond falls most heavily this week, we are praying for you. Thank you for your faithfulness. You may not see us, but we are running alongside you.
“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…God will feed God’s flock like a shepherd; God will gather the lambs in God’s arms, and carry them in God’s bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.” (Isaiah 40)