A Pastoral Word on the Evil at the Boston Marathon Today

Monday, April 15, 2013
All of our hearts are heavy tonight as we hear of the unfolding horror at the Boston Marathon today.

I am angry; my stomach turns; I want vengeance in my unguarded moments.

I suspect - as do you all - that the news will get worse before it gets better, although I pray not.

At Next Level Church, we are teaching through the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.

Matthew 5:5 says this:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted".

This is a good word for tonight.

Here's what we can know:

1. God was not surprised.
Nothing that happens shocks him. He is deeply saddened by many things, including the death of his Son. But he is not surprised.

2. God mourns with those who mourn.
Spouses who lost spouses; children who lost parents; parents who lost children...God is present with them in their grief and unfathomable loss. He experienced it all when he lost his Son.

3. Good will win out in the end.
Evil has a momentary holiday; but joy comes in the morning and one day every tear will be wiped away and every injustice will be righted and every loss will be restored.

4. The Resurrection is a down payment on Life winning forever.
This is when we have to believe that Jesus was actually, physically raised from the dead. We're not talking about  a symbol, or a metaphor, or a nice idea...unless we want to accept that the Christian faith has roughly the same power as our favorite novel from high school.

He was really, really dead. He is really, really alive.

And that makes all the difference.

Tonight is awful beyond belief.

I for one believe we need to see it all and drink it down to its dregs.

But we also must remember that the Cross is all about Jesus absorbing the penalty for those who did what they did today...if they will only say "Thank you; I believe and I accept your life in place of mine; your death in place of mine; your Resurrection as the promise that I can live forever and start to live now".

Just as he has absorbed the worst of what you and I have done.

When we mourn we are comforted by the fact that Jesus has taken responsibility for all evil onto Himself and has beaten the hell out of it.


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