Ambassador of Reconciliation
4/29/14 at 04:56 PM 4 Comments

All Shall Be Well: Boston Marathon 2014

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Last year at this time the city of Boston was reeling from the terrorist attacks that left four dead and more than 260 injured. I wrote about that awful day in “Terror at the Marathon,” and about how the city and the world rallied with love and support in “United We Stand.” Many selfless people courageously stepped forward to help the victims right after the bombings, and millions of people worldwide provided support in countless ways in the months following. The One Fund collected over $60 million for the victims in the first 75 days. People were also inspired to reach out and help others with needs of all kinds. For example, my daughter and others came together to do the whole Marathon route carrying 40-pound packs to raise money for veterans.

In tragedy, strangers were united in ways they never could have imagined. Countless stories tell of lives coming together for good. I experienced one of those poignant moments when I walked out onto the field at Fenway Park to the strains of “Hallelujah” with other Marathon volunteers, victims, and first responders in the opening ceremonies of the Red Sox playoff game on October 4, 2013. In a remarkable turn-around, the Red Sox went from last place in the AL East in 2012 to World Series Champions in 2013, giving the city another terrific boost.

This year’s Boston Marathon brought a record number of runners and spectators for a marvelous day in which the city reclaimed the beauty and camaraderie of this historic event. Memories of last year’s tragedy were ever-present and on people’s hearts, but it was a day of joy and resilience and redemption. We volunteers on the medals team were moved and honored to be able to give well-deserved medals to the finishers. Many runners ran in honor of the victims, including the youngest one, Martin Richard, age 8. The men’s winner, Meb Keflezighi, was the first American man to win the race in 31 years. Celeste Corcoran, who lost both legs in the bombing, ran the final stretch on her running blades, accompanied by her sister and her daughter.
Meb Keflezighi after crossing the finish line, the first American man to win since 1983. In the background is the hotel that became a command post after the bombings and that was the site of my daughter’s wedding reception less than four weeks later.
Celeste Corcoran runs the final stretch of the race on her running blades between her sister and her daughter.
Team Hoyt, Mile 25
Tom Feller at the finish line

It was the 32nd and final running of Boston for the incredible Team Hoyt, with dad Dick (age 73) pushing son Rick (age 52) in his wheelchair. Another special runner was Tom Feller, whose mom was a high school classmate of mine. On the anniversary of the bombings he ran the whole route dressed as a patriot and carrying two large American flags. He ran again on Marathon Monday, less than a week later, to raise money for a school for children with autism. With more than 32,000 runners I knew it would be unlikely for me to see him, but toward the end of my shift I spotted him and was able to snap a picture. And there are countless other stories—both well-known and very private—of how good arose from horrific evil.

All the feel-good stories in no way erase the pain and loss suffered by so many. But I’m grateful for a glimpse into how God can redeem even the worst evil for His good purposes. I learned in our study of 2 Peter this week that our hope rests “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (1:2). There are two key qualities that we need to know about God—that He is good and that He is sovereign. Being assured that He possesses these two attributes gives us confidence that He is both willing and able to do all that He has guaranteed in “His precious and very great promises” (1:4).

"Three-Minute Theology" elaborates on how God’s goodness and His sovereignty are the true source of our hope.

My account of the 2015 Marathon is called "Let Us Run with Perseverance."

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