Kyrie eleison, Boston (and Iraq)

Today, as officials comb Boston in search of answers and in search of justice, may we remember that there is only so much we can say . . .

And so very much that we should not say.

Let no one say that 8-year old Martin Richard died yesterday because “God needed another angel in heaven.” God is not a sadistic collector of human specimens. There was no sudden shortage of angels in heaven precipitating yesterday’s carnage and devastation.

Let no one talk of “God’s plan” as if this were somehow part of it. To do so is to mistake God for some kind of cosmic terrorist. To suggest that we ought to bow down and worship such a God is spiritual abuse of the worst order.

If we talk of God, let us talk of the God who grieves with Boston. The God who grieves over death and violence — much as Jesus grieved at the loss of a friend. Let us see God through the lens of Jesus. In him we meet a God who renounces violence, who is making war on war, who despises death, and who beats swords into plowshares.

And let us not talk of Boston without also remembering the dozens killed in multiple car bombings in Iraq yesterday. The attack in Boston is closer to home, so it’s natural to feel it more acutely. But let it sensitize you to the dangers that millions face on a routine basis. Let it strengthen our resolve to work for peace, both here and abroad. Let us remember that every life is precious to God.

At the end of the day, all we can say is kyrie eleison.

Lord have mercy.

For Boston and Iraq.

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