Yet Another Invitation

Image As it is said, “Out of the mouth of babes.”  It was the first thing thought of when I saw this photo of Martin Richard killed in the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.  His simple message is, “No more hurting people; Peace.” When events like this take place in our world, they have a tendency to shake us at our core and realize our own mortality as human beings.  It also tends to bring out the best of people, at least for a little while, where love does seem to be the prevailing message.  These events also make many question God, especially when such an innocent life is taken.  Some will also question the power of evil and predict “doom and gloom” upon the world for various reasons. Ever since 9/11/01, however, I have tried to take a different approach with these events that would probably be more productive for all of us.  I see them as invitations for change in my own life.  I start by asking myself, “In what way is God calling me to change in light of this situation?”  It’s typically a difficult question to answer, but maybe young Martin Richard provides us the space in our lives and hearts by asking ourselves who do we show hate towards or hold contempt for within our lives?  That is a monumental question, but one that can move us towards the peace and love that even this young boy desired. As long as there is evil, and it’s not going anywhere, there will also be hate.  There is contempt for people’s lifestyle, for people of other nationalities, other religions, other colors, and the list goes on and on.  There is contempt for people of other political parties, those who have differing opinions and beliefs, values, and so often we make that unfortunate leap into doing exactly what we hate about the other and become hate ourselves, often without even knowing it.  That’s the problem with hurt, as young Martin suggests, if we don’t find healing for our own pain, not only will we become it, but we will pass it onto others for so many reasons, avoiding the relationship that can heal it. And so, another invitation is being given to each of us and how we respond will be telling; but it will also determine our future.  Do we respond with hate, simple retribution, and vengeance, as has often been the path in the past; or is this an invitation not only as individuals, but as a country, to be invited into healing, deeper love, forgiveness, and maybe most importantly, humility, which can bring about Martin Richard’s dream of peace in our own hearts and in the lives we encounter.  You never quite know who you will invite in if you show the other a little love.

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