Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston, Bombs, Blaming God

the sun goes down in the desert skies

Yesterday was supposed to be a day for the nation to participate in a venerable "springtime" ritual with the running of the Boston Marathon. Instead, it was yet another opportunity for us all to be reminded of just how fragile we are and how frightening this world can be.

As I watched the media coverage of the exploding bombs wantonly killing and maiming those innocent people (especially the children), I saw a picture of one particular bystander who was on her knees, looking up into the skies, praying. I was wondering if she was asking about where God was in all the tragedy around her.

I am sure many people blame God for an event like bombs exploding in Boston, perhaps wondering "How can a God of love allow such suffering and violence?" or maybe even, "Why did God send such terrible suffering - was it some kind of punishment?"  

Well, I have to say I don't actually think God had much at all to do with what happened yesterday. Human beings, driven by ego, selfishness and a violent spirit were the cause of the bombings.

I don't at all believe in a God who sits up in heaven behind some master control panel, manipulating events "down here" on earth, allowing some to suffer, others to go free. I simply believe that God is an all-abiding Holy Presence, ever with us in the good times and the bad. 

So rather than blaming God for suffering or wondering why God allows suffering, I simply say, God is with us in it all.  And then I can surrender my spirit with an assurance of this ever abiding presence, knowing that we are never alone, come what may.

There is a beautiful psalm in the Hebrew Scripture - Psalm 139 . It celebrates God's all abiding presence in all the circumstances of life.  I found myself reading it after 9/11, after the shootings in Colorado and Newtown, and I found myself reading it last night.

Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven you are there.
If I make my bed in the underworld,
you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me
and the light around me becomes night,
even the darkness is not dark to you,
the night is as bright as the day.

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