Bishops’ repsonses and prayers after the Boston Marathon bombing

Bishop Rob Hirschfeld

“I need all lanes open here!”

This was the urgent plea of a Boston Police officer responding to his radio dispatcher moments after one of the bombs exploded today near Copley Square.  He was pleading to make all paths clear on the roads in and out of the disaster area so the injured, maimed, and dying could be helped as soon as possible.  He could also have been asking for the airwaves to be clear of any unnecessary chatter so that all lines of communication could be open.  Both were needed.   “I need all lanes open hee-ah!”

The officer gives us a prayer.   It is a prayer we have heard before and know.   It’s the plea we usually hear in Advent from Isaiah 40:

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Clear the way.  We need all lanes open here!

We need all lanes open here!   In the wilderness, the desert, the wasteland of our violence, confusion, anger, and grief, we need, again, to know of the Presence that is stronger than sin, hatred, death.  In the emptiness of hearts that are tempted to become numb to such suffering, we need lanes of God’s compassion to open up again.

Yet again, a child!  O, God.  So close to where that kind Officer in that classic children’s book about Boston made the Way for those ducklings, touching the hearts of children all over through the years.  O God, no!  Make a new way for us, O Holy One!  Come, Lord Jesus.

O God, help us clear all the lanes for your grace, your healing, your justice, your peace.  Even in the hot panic on the streets, we behold your glory when people rushed to the aid of your hurting children, with acts of compassion, wisdom, skill.  But we need even more wide pathways for your Arrival, your Advent, to show us the Way.  We need all lanes open here.  We need all lanes open here. We need all lanes open here.  Help us open all lanes, so we know You are here.  Show us your healing and health in Boston and in all the cities of this earth. Amen.

PresidIng Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

Gracious God, you walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the suffering and terrorized be surrounded by the incarnate presence of the crucified and risen one. May every human being be reminded of the precious gift of life you entered to share with us.  May our hearts be pierced with compassion for those who suffer, and for those who have inflicted this violence, for your love is the only healing balm we know. May the dead be received into your enfolding arms, and may your friends show the grieving they are not alone as they walk this vale of tears.  All this we pray in the name of the one who walked the road to Calvary. Amen.