From Isaiah 53:4:
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering
Yesterday a terrible, and entirely unexpected, tragedy befell the city of Boston. I awoke from a nap, suffering from a normal late night of homework, to a handful of text messages from friends and family asking if I was ok (as I live outside of Boston and am downtown often). For the next hours my eyes and mind and heart were filled with images of blood, smoke, and tears. All of America, and likely a great deal of the world, was likewise filled with such painful images.
There are few words that can or should be spoken.
I am reminded of the journey of the Messiah. Isaiah tells us that he bears not only our iniquities, but also our sorrows. I believe that, on the cross, the whole weight of the pain and suffering and sin of this world rested on the shoulders of our blessed Christ.
When the bomb went off, the nails were going into his hands.
When debris cut through limb and skin, the crown of thorns was maiming His head.
The crucified Christ is present in death, pain, and suffering. He has been there and is there.
That is the fullness of His love. Giving up all, to feel the pain of all the suffering of this world with us.
Today is not a day for easy answers. Today is not a day for a faith that glosses over the anger and incredulity. Today is not a day to have a comforting, padded, faith of denial. Today is a day to present all that we are to the presence of the crucified Christ; even if all we have is anger, silence, and confusion. He knows. He was there, on the cross - He felt all those things.
I pray that believers who are near to Boston, as I am, will be the incarnate Christ in this city; the incarnate Christ who stands in solidarity with the suffering and the brokenhearted. The Christ who is not theologizing, but moaning in pain, screaming on the cross along with all who suffer.
As we wait for details, I pray that we would be kept from jumping to conclusions about who committed these awful crimes, or why. And I pray that the information we learn, much less our speculation, would not fuel prejudice or dangerous anger. This is indeed a time for anger. It is a time to mourn. We are in pain over abhorrent evil, and right to be so. But, regardless what we learn about what happened, my prayer is that the God of peace would keep us all from allowing hate and anger and darkness to win the day - for that is the great desire of the evil one.
I pray that the Church would stand as an example of peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. May the love, forgiveness, and peace of Christ be in our hearts, and in our hands.
But many of those questions are for tomorrow. Now we mourn, and meditate on the crucified Christ who is present with all those who suffer today. We, as the body of Christ, mourn in the full agony. We are in Him, and He is in us - and He is with them.
Christ, may your Eucharistic presence be known - may it be known that you are broken with the brokenhearted on this day.
"Those who come close to people in pain, naturally draw near to God, because God is always by the side of His children who are in pain." -Elder Paisios.