You should know the name Carlos Arredondo. If you’ve seen any pictures to come out of Boston since Monday, you inevitably have seen a man with shaggy hair and a cowboy hat holding a tourniquet as he runs alongside an injured person. Carlos is a Texan peace activist who was at the Marathon to watch a participant running in his son’s memory; when the explosions went off, he jumped the barricade and ran into the chaos, working with first responders and doing everything he could to get people to safety and out of harm’s way. Carlos has not had an easy decade, losing one son in Iraq and the other to suicide a few years later.
You should know the name Martin Richard. He had finished hugging his father, who ran the race, and was killed in the explosions. He was eight years old. His mother and sister are in intensive care right now. His neighborhood, his school, his neighbors, friends and family are all mourning right now, holding on to what hope they can find in a frightening, horrifying time.
You should know the names Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk and Nasariyah: cities in Iraq that, along with Baghdad, were car-bombed leading to almost two dozen deaths and hundreds injured. You should know Balochistan province, in Pakistan, which suffered from a seven point eight magnitude earthquake on the Pakistan-Iran border last night. You should know all these names and places, and please, as you pray this week, speak to God’s presence there. Know that God has not abandoned, forgotten or turned God’s back on Carlos, on the Richard family, on Kirkuk, Balochistan, or anywhere else. Please, as you pray this week, invoke God’s hope and promise in these horrible, terrifying acts of humanity and nature. As you pray this week, please, seek how you and we and all of us can serve God’s reign in this. And please, as you pray this week, remember them—the perpetrators, the victims, the responders, the wounded, the forgotten, the abandoned, the oblivious, the ignorant, the hateful. Together, let us join in prayer, knowing God hears us, as we seek some modicum of hope in a very turbulent world. It’s there, I promise.
We will continue to look at the how, why and to whoms of prayer this Sunday. I hope to see you then.