Exactly twenty years ago yesterday I was running the Boston marathon… it was Patriots Day 1993. It was one of the greatest and most religious experiences I have ever had, and it strengthened my faith. Patriots Day, the day we remember what the Patriots did to help us secure our freedoms, our democracy. It is always a day of celebration, joy, and for the marathoners who finish, agony and ecstasy. I remember well my dear old friend Rick Sanders meeting me at the finish line, taking the pictures, helping me off the course. I had never been so tired and so happy in my entire life. On Patriots day, shops close, the Red Sox play an 11 a.m. game, and in general it’s a Boston holiday. Of course it is. Paul Revere would have been proud. Samuel Adams would have passed out free beer! A great day.
But now that day has been marred and marked with tragedy. Senseless tragedy created by cowards who seem to think that blowing up innocent human beings is somehow a noble thing to do, even a thing that can get you commended and a special place in Paradise. What a lie that is. What an absolute lie. God is weeping with those who mourn on this day, not celebrating with the butchers of innocent runners and their families.
Yesterday I went running here in Durham. Actually it’s just jogging these days… and I came to a hill that reminded me of Heartbreak Hill, only much much steeper. I had to walk up most of it so it didn’t become Heart Attack Hill.
I have been thinking about my Marathon experience twenty years ago. The explosions happened yesterday at 2:50 and killed four people and injured 140. There were two explosions. I kept thinking, what if it was me crossing the finish line then? I could have been killed as well. In reality, I did not cross the finish line until near 5 p.m. Had I been in this race, they would have diverted me to Commonwealth Ave. and I would have finished in an odd place, not the traditional finish line.
Today is a day to reflect more seriously on the stupidity of random and senseless violence, whether it’s gun violence or the violence that explosives bring. It is a day to pray for the families who have suffered loss through this pointless and hate-filled act.
It is a day to also remember that no matter how much security we have, we are never ever entirely safe, and that leads to the question, is it really worth it to spend trillions of U.S. dollars every year on security everywhere, when in reality we are not secure anywhere, even in Chitlin Switch N.C.? I don’t think it is worth it.
Why not? As long as there are idiots with guns who are allowed to buy and use them, as long as C4 and other explosives or the chemical components to make such explosives are readily available to people, as long as their are wicked human beings, anything beyond reasonable precautions and normal security measures is probably a waste of time, money, and effort. It just is.
We would do better to trust in the Lord, and not in elaborate, expensive security measures. There is one practical thing we could do. We could pass much stricter controls on all things that go boom— guns, ammo, explosives, grenades etc. Much stricter controls. That might help some. But the only cure for human wickedness is actually conversion, a deep work of grace by the Lord in the soul of a fallen creature.
Yesterday is a day that will go down infamy. A day when the Boston marathon became the Boston massacre. A day when runners all over the world come to Boston with the same peaceful purpose and goal in mind and encouraged each other to run the good race and finish the course. I trust that this wicked act will not prevent the racing of the oldest marathon in the modern era to continue. After all the first marathon was run precisely because of a battle, the battle of marathon.
The best answer to senseless violence is to go on living a normal life with normal precautions, not allowing the wicked plans of evil persons to alter what is good, and true, and beautiful. For if you allow acts like this to put an end to good and godly activities, then the wicked have won a brief victory. And they must never be allowed to think they have won— because in the end, they will not.