T.H.I.N.K.

Monday, April 15, 2013, dawned as “Tax Day” for tax-paying citizens in the United States.

Monday, April 15, 2013, dawned as “Patriot Day” for residents in Boston, Massachusetts.

Monday, April 15, 2013, dawned as the 117th running of the Boston Marathon—the world’s oldest marathon–for thousands of elite and recreational runners from throughout the globe.

By 3 p.m. (EDT), Monday, April 15, 2013, unfolded into a horrific spectacle of fatality, injury and fear at the finish line of the world’s oldest marathon.

Runners and non-runners, residents of Boston and residents of every zip code, citizens in the United States and citizens in countries across the planet were stunned and aghast at the senseless, heartless and calculated act of malice.

A first, violent explosion erupted near the Boston Marathon finish line at 2:50 p.m., only to be followed, less than ten seconds later, by a second lethal explosion.

In a matter of seconds, a Boston Marathon was transformed into a Boston Massacre.

For eleven seconds, human powerlessness prevailed.

Runners, spectators, marathon volunteers, police, emergency medical personnel—all were powerless. No one knew what had happened. No one knew what to do.

But, by the twelfth second, another transformation occurred. Human powerlessness changed into powerful human intervention.

Those who were injured became magnets for those could help. Those who could help swarmed around those who were injured. Whatever a person’s role was twelve seconds earlier—whether runner or spectator or volunteer or police or emergency medical personnel—that person, if able, became a powerful human helper.

Powerlessness transformed into powerfulness.

Some will ask, “Where was God in this horrific event?”

Others will answer, “God was in the transformation of powerlessness into powerfulness.”

* * * * *

Now, in the month of May, 2013, I wonder, “Will we live our lives any differently in light of the events of

April 15, 2013?”

I pray we will.

I wonder further, “How might we live our lives differently?”

I reflect on the words in the epistle of James 3:5-6, 8, 10:

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. It stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell…No one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison…From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.

These all-too-true verses describe the human tongue as being both a tool and a weapon. The human tongue may be a vessel of kindness or an agent of cruelty.

Like the architects and executors of the Boston bombings, the human tongue may be a conduit of creativity or a perpetrator of destruction.

Our words may assuage. Or our words may assault.

Last August, I posted this saying on the door of my Pastor’s Office: “Words matter; use them with care.”

To use words with care, let us consider this strategy:

Before we speak, may we spell out the word “think” and consider each letter, one by one.

… Is it TRUE? Is it truthful? Or is it a fabrication or a distortion, like a funhouse mirror, with no fun intended?

… Is it HELPFUL? Will it clear the air? Or will it pollute the air?

… Is it INSPIRING? Will it make angels sing? Or will devils dance? Will logic weep?

… Is it NECESSARY that I spread the story? Will the world be a better place? Or a worse place?

… Is it KIND? This one element alone may determine the decision to speak or the choice to remain silent.

In following the philosophy of T.H.I.N.K., we may not prevent a premeditated act of violence.

However, we may prevent our tongue from committing verbal violence.

In this way, we may live our lives differently … in light of April 15, 2013.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara