See the big yellow banner? That’s our church’s front yard. See the orange barriers? That blocks off the scene of the apprehension of suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombing. See the crowd of people dressed in black? Those are FBI crime scene evidence specialists. What a view.
Who would have “thunk it”? Right here in Watertown, right here in our neighborhood, a major crime drama came to a head. I spent most of today inside our church, talking with and praying with residents of Watertown who had “sheltered in place” on Friday — people who had been awakened to gunfire, had police search their backyards, tried to explain the whole thing to their children without scaring the be-jeezus out of them.
I know there’s been a lot written about the “spirit of Boston.” Certainly on facebook you can find meme after meme declaring that we’re wicked strong around here. What I heard from folks today supports all that. But it adds another layer, too. What I heard was a lot of compassion. Folks understand that people in many places in our world have to “shelter in place” often. Children in many places in our world grow up with a police presence all around them and/or hearing gunshots in the neighborhood. Although Friday was a hard day, it was also a day that drew them closer to the heart of their global neighbors, and closer to the heart of a God who grieves the suffering we cause to one another.
Tomorrow we gather for worship. It’s still Easter season. And at CGS Watertown, we’re going to sing “Alleluia’s” till the cows come home, in thanksgiving for the freedom to gather, thanksgiving for all those who exhausted themselves to keep us safe, and thanksgiving for a God who is already bringing healing and restoring hope in our community.