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Apr 15

Pray for Boston

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

_AN14040.JPGA warning: This post may contain hard things to read

Today’s tragic events in Boston bring many questions to my mind.
– Who’s hurt?
– Who’s helping?
– Who’s responsible?
– Who’s gonna capture the guilty?

And, inevitably, we cry out: Where is God?

“The Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel believed that God died in Auschwitz. During his first night in the camp, he had watched the black smoke curling into the sky from the crematorium where the bodies of his mother and sister were being consumed. “Never shall I forget those moments,” he wrote years later, “which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.” He relates how one day the Gestapo hanged a child with the face of a “sad-eyed angel” who was silent and almost calm as he climbed the gallows. It took the child nearly an hour to die in front of the thousands of spectators who were forced to watch. Behind Wiesel, one of the prisoners muttered: “Where is God? Where is He?” And Wiesel heard a voice within him saying in response: “Where is He? Here He is. He is hanging here on this gallows.” 1

Not everyone in Auschwitz came to the same conclusion as Elie Wiesel did.

“Even in the camps, some of the inmates continued to study the Torah and to observe the festivals, not in the hope of placating an angry deity but because they found, by experience, that these rituals helped them to endure the horror. One day a group of Jews decided to put God on trial. In the face of such inconceivable suffering, they found the conventional arguments utterly unconvincing. If God was omnipotent, he could have prevented the Shoah; if he could not stop it, he was impotent; and if he could have stopped it but chose not to, he was a monster. They condemned God to death. The presiding rabbi pronounced the verdict, then went on calmly to announce that it was time for the evening prayer. Ideas about God come and go, but prayer, the struggle to find meaning even in the darkest circumstances, must continue.” 2

I love reading the psalms in the Bible.

Many are celebrations of God and God’s character, but many, many of them contain sad, pain-filled rants that people would be afraid to say in church but God and God’s book give us freedom to say.

As he hung on the cross Jesus Christ quoted the Psalm 22: Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 3

God asked God, “Where are you God?”

As we watch the news, view the video footage, listen to the radio hosts rant, discuss the events with others and ask our questions of God, it’s important to remember we are NOT alone. Pain and painful events make us ask the hard questions when life goes very, very wrong.

More tomorrow.

“Please God bring healing, hope, comfort, grief and justice to Boston and the running community” is mysilentscream.

1 & 2 – From Karen Armstrong’s The Case For God
3 – Matthew 27:46, NLT

Photo by Nancy Lane of the Boston Herald

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