A Year After the Bombing, Three Reflections

Last year I wrote on my perspectives on the bombing of my city. A year later, a few reflections seem in order. Everything Changed For many in Boston, everything changed. For the victims, the police officers, the leaders, the marathon runners, and even for the perpetrators of the crime, life would never be the same again. How could it be? At the mention of The Boston Marathon, new associations will dawn in the mind. Athletes and heroes, victims and victory, terror and triumph, mingled together. For me personally, this was the day when Boston finally felt like home — my home.

Nothing Changed There is a good-hearted temptation to believe that tragic events change everything. In face of tragedy, we stand together, unified by our common wound and say well-intentioned things like, "we must be more kind," "justice will be done," and "we must put a stop to this evil." But sadly, the tragic events which expose the resident wickedness in the human heart are not in themselves powerful enough to change our hearts. A year after the Boston bombings, evil still exists, crime still persists, and injustice still resists even our most earnest promises to root it out.

We Must be Changed These dual realities — that while a great many things changed, many things stayed the same — illustrate the deep need we all share in Boston (and indeed we all share as humans). This is the need to be fundamentally changed. This is Holy Week, a time we remember another great tragedy, the murder of the Son of God at the hands of sinful men. God, looking at the repeating cycle of tragedy, chose to get involved. To step into the tragedy, and rend from it the ultimate victory. The greatest hero, the King of Kings walked into the blast meant for us, from the charges we set in our own depravity, to show us what love really is and how change truly happens. God dying for men — greatest tragedy bringing final victory.

So today, I remember the tragedy of a year ago. But I don't only remember, I hope and pray that this tragedy would cause us to remember the greater tragedy of the cross, in preparation to celebrate the greatest victory imaginable. Jesus rose, after all. I'm believing that Boston will too.