Today 35,755 runners participated in the first Boston Marathon since the horrendous bombing one year ago that killed and maimed spectators and participants near the finish line.
One event was the result of a tragic accident, the other a hideous crime. But in both cases, the year past was remembered by remarkable stories of courage, faith and determination.
In West, a choir sang Amazing Grace while surrounded with ferns and flickering candles on which students wrote, “Rise Up West!” CNN reported, “Residents say their faith has been instrumental in understanding and dealing with last April's tragedy. Montgomery Irwin says the anniversary falling so close to Easter -- with its message of resurrection and renewal -- is especially appropriate for the people of West.”
In Boston survivors and responders from last year's bombing participated in a one mile tribute-run on Saturday. Mayor, Martin J. Walsh spoke to the crowd, “As I look out on the crowd, there is a lot of inspiration. I want to thank you for your courage and your resilience.” At Old South Church, near the finish line, tribute runners were given blue and yellow scarves knitted by volunteers across the country.
Perhaps John had this kind of human resilience in mind when he wrote, “That was the light which coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (John1:9). Every human being is born with a reflection of that light that is at the source of creation. In some way we are like the clouds that reflect the rising sun, streaked with crimson, purple and gold prior to the sun’s entrance. Often in our moments of greatest heartache and difficulty we reflect the greater glory. But when the sun rises, its brilliance supersedes everything that has gone before.
This may be what Zecharias meant when he said, “The sunrise from on high has visited us!” (Luke 1:78). Or John, when he wrote, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as the only begotten Son of God.” (John 1:14). All of our expressions of courage, faith and determination, mixed as they are with our shortcomings and our sins, are but dim reflections of the perfect light that is found in God.
It seems fitting that between remembering these two tragic events, the world paused to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Seeking comfort, consolation and inspiration, we turned our eyes toward that signal event in human history when God entered into our suffering through His Son and overcame death and the grave.
Our human resilience reflects not on our own glory, but on the glory of Him who made us in His image, Who sent His Son to forgive us our sins and transform us into children of light. He is the source of all comfort and all strength.