NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 18, 2013

Birth pangs of a new humanity

(Continued)

Recovery is a long-distance journey — more like a marathon than a sprint. We prepare ourselves for that journey through acts of compassion and service. We sustain ourselves by finding travelling companions.

Shortly after the marathon bombing, Rev. Taylor described what she saw from the tower of Old South: people were running toward the chaos and confusion and violence, not away from it. Good Samaritans of all kinds attended to those who were wounded, giving warm coats to runners whose bodies were shivering, offering cellphones to call concerned family members and loved ones. At an Interfaith Service, Rev. Taylor said that we in Boston “are shaken but not forsaken. Another’s hate will not make of us haters. Another’s cruelty will only redouble our mercy.”

Her words have proven true. Old South was soon decorated with a large banner filled with words of support and prayers from the members of the Mayflower Congregational Church. That’s a church in Oklahoma City, not far from the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that was destroyed in the 1995 bombing. These two congregations found a healing bond in their common experience of pain and suffering. People of good will run toward the violence and chaos to offer support and assistance.

After the police completed their investigation and opened the area around the finish line to the public, many interfaith events marked the occasion. One of the most notable was a procession led by leaders of the Central Reformed Temple and Emmanuel Episcopal Church. It included clergy and people of faith from many congregations walking together for the purpose of “reclaiming and reconsecrating the defiled streets of our city.” They walked behind a large brass cross from Emmanuel and the Torah scrolls from the temple. Several clergy reported that they had never before seen a group of religious people walk behind diverse religious symbols. The image of this multi-faith procession is strikingly beautiful and the story was reported by the news outlets around the world.

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