Howard Fineman’s article in the Huffington Post was titled, Running Toward the Screams on Patriot’s Day. He wrote the piece on Monday, just hours after.
We now have another day for which we will ask each other, “Where were you when?” Not unlike the questions in our recent memory. “Where were you at 9:02 a.m. (CDT) on April 19, 1995?” “Where were you at 8:46 (EDT) on September 11, 2001?” Our collective psyche will log another terror creating event.
Mr. Fineman pointed out, in his article, that people were running toward those in need on Monday. We read the same stories after the Alfred P. Murrah building bombing. We read the same stories after the Twin Towers fell. The wounded were running away, as they should. Others bent on rescue were running toward.
Christians couch their response to these events in a variety of ways. For some it brings out the best and worst of our sense of patriotism, after all this did occur on Patriot’s Day. The best expressions come in the form of prayers. The worst responses take the form of ethnic profiling. At this writing no one knows who is responsible. And, when we do learn the identity of the perpetrator(s), we should take care not to indict an entire group of people.
There is another possibility for Christians. We could take the stories of heroism as inspiration to always be found faithfully running toward those who are wounded – by life, by decisions, by others, even by bombs.
We rarely talk of the strain of Christian theology that understands that Jesus lived, suffered, and died in solidarity with all of us who are broken. We are broken by unexplained experiences of life, by decisions made with or without the full understanding of consequences, by the actions of others without remorse, and even by those whose intention is terror.
We may shorthand these experiences and tie them to human sin. But, when we fail to name the ways we are broken we often miss the occasion to draw attention to the sent Son who came for us, to be with us, and to bring an end to the reign of sin’s terror that contributes to our broken experiences.
Rather than stand aloof and shout descriptions of the ways others are broken, maybe it is time, even past time, to run to the screams. Jesus did.
This post first ran in the Tuttle Times 4/18/13 for my weekly column.