Two improvised explosive devices were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday. Three people were killed, and over 175 were wounded and sought medical attention at local hospitals. Pictures now emerging from the scene paint a gruesome picture of limbs blown off, blood-soaked sidewalks, people screaming in pain and fear, and stumbling around in shock.
Reports this morning tell us that 17 remain in critical condition, and 41 more are in serious condition. An 8-year-old boy was among the dead. His mother is recovering from surgery for a brain injury incurred as a result of the blast. His sister is reported to have lost a leg. His father and one other sibling were both there but not seriously injured.
Eight year old Martin Richard is pictured above holding a sign that says, “No more hurting people. Peace.”
President Obama spoke briefly on Monday, then again on Tuesday and promised to bring those responsible to justice. “We will find out who did this. We’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
I understand the sentiment, and it’s the only thing a president can say in this situation. But it’s not true. There is no justice for this situation. An 8-year-old boy was among the dead… There is no justice. Justice is when an eight year old child can go watch the Boston marathon with his family without the fear of being blown up. There is no way to bring people to justice. The whole situation is unjust.
Justice is when the vulnerable are not a target and children are not collateral damage. Justice is when everyone has enough to live, and when everyone lives in peace. There is no way to bring this event around to justice. It’s too messed up for that. There will be retribution; there will be investigation and arrests and punishment, but there will be no justice.
The world in which we live is so broken. And you know, it’s not as though somebody else broke it and we are all good… we broke it. It’s not like we are the good guys who have been victimized by the bad guys. We have all voted for the chaos in one way or another.
Today I can only lament the brokenness. I can only say how long, Oh Lord, will you forget us forever? Where is your justice? Where is your peace? If you are really running the show then why do the wicked prosper? Why do the selfish continue to make victims of the normal everyday person who is just trying to live life? How long will we struggle here without your vindication? You are the one in charge. Will you not change our situation? Do you not love the innocent? An 8-year-old boy was among the dead…
I know that the creator and sustain-er of the universe can handle my lament, my questions. In fact I believe it is our job as followers of Jesus to sound the lament, to give voice to injustice.
And, today I will confess my own complicity in the darkness. I will pray for the people whose lives have been turned upside down by this, and then do everything I can do to pursue the kingdom of God. I will seek to love my enemies, and pray for those who persecute me. I will try to forgive as best I can. I will try to take ruthless personal inventory of my life to see that I am open to correction in the ways in which I participate in the brokenness of this world. Then I will try to take steps to change and grow. I hope that you will join me.