“Suffering makes it clear how essentially stationary is the history of mankind.” -Hans Küng
The Boston Marathon bombing is a cruel reminder that despite all progress in our society, we are getting nowhere. School shootings and public bombings are perennial occurrences now. Beyond the grief, there’s a deep rooted, numbing familiarity; a growing accustomed to. The shock of the news is, incredulously, lessened now by the just slightly perceptible recognition of a pattern. That subtle lie may even start to work on us- “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue in this way from the beginning of creation (2 Pet. 3:4).”
What Can We Do?
What can we do to get beyond our stationary history? How can we make sure things don’t continue in this way? What is the next step in the cycle of: tragedy, media coverage, grief, healing? Tragedies should not be reduced to media events. The continuous coverage informs us but fails to transform us. The looping video footage becomes a conversation piece. “Did you see the video?” But even the deepest impressions fade fairly quickly for those of us not directly impacted. We talk about healing and finding the strength to carry on. It seems that our resilience, our ability to adapt and carry on, to make progress is our Achilles tendon. At the Newtown prayer vigil, President Obama said “We’re not doing enough.” So we do more. We enact legislation and tighten security checkpoints- all of which has produced a great deal of change but little improvement. There has been little change in us. For this we need to break out of the ‘one-dimensionality’ of our solutions, the horizontal and purely human. We need a vertical solution, a solution from above, a Savior.
The good news is that things have NOT always continued in this way. The first coming of Christ was an unprecedented rebuttal to that claim. His first coming gives us hope that, just as surely, He will come again (Titus 2:13). In His first coming He solved the problem of sin individually. In His second coming He will solve the problem of society at large. We need to pray for Boston, we need to pray for the victims and we need to pray for the Lord to come (Isa. 64:1).