My friend Lisa snapped the photo above from her car. She happened to be driving near Franklin Street with her kids in the car today when the FBI hauled away “The Boat” — You know, the infamous boat in which suspect #2 was discovered a week ago today — a week ago right now, actually!
Lots of people have asked me to share my sermon from last Sunday at CGS. And lots of people have asked me to say something about how things are going as the days pass in Watertown. I preach from notes, and my sermons tend to be fairly particular to the moment, so I don’t have a text to share from April 21st. But I will share a few thoughts here that take ideas from the sermon and meld them with my answer to the question, “So how’s everybody doing now?”
When the resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples, he breathed on them, and he gave them his peace. He breathed peace into them — the last of the three gifts of the paschal mystery. In his death, he gave them the first two gifts — his body and his blood. In his Resurrection, he gave them the third — his breath. Through baptism, we are called to breath peace into the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s a life’s vocation.
It’s hard to breathe peace when you are afraid. It’s hard to sing, hard to breathe the words that speak truth to power, hard to inhale enough oxygen to exhale the word, “hope.”
Folks in Watertown are trying very hard to breathe. Seeing the boat being hauled down the street is the kind of moment that catches one up short – -takes one’s breath away for a moment, brings back to mind the threat to balance, safety, and sanity that last Friday embodied. I’ve talked to a lot of people this week who’ve said that hearing sirens or loud noises have brought them to breathlessness. Are we safe again? Is everyone “caught” who needs to be caught? What’s next?
We’re doing what we can, as we can, with lots of help from great friends, schools, and resources. For some, for me, getting together to sing helps a lot. Ana Hernandez helped us breathe peace at CGS last Sunday, leading us in “Open my heart” and “Be not afraid.” We also passed the peace, a gesture that may seem rote or trivial as a line in the bulletin, but when fully embodied, is an amazing affirmation that reconciliation is true and possible and in the air we breathe.
God bless our breath. And God bless our words, as we explain to our children the boat moving up the street, the lockdown drills now routine in public schools, and our conviction that even in the face of all this, we keep moving forward and working for a peaceful future for all.