Dr. Roberto Miranda: The scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous
Transcript of reflection given at 'Healing our City - An Interfaith Service' on April 18, 2013 in Boston MA (Versión en español)
As I prayed on what to share this morning, the reassuring words of the psalmist came to my mind:
on the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous may not stretch out
their hands to do wrong. (Ps. 125:3)
As we have confirmed so graphically this week, wickedness does exist in this world. But God has put a hedge of limitation around it. It can only manifest for a moment, but then it has to relinquish the field to a Higher, Nobler Power who is in ultimate control.
This is why we come together on a time like this as people of faith—to go beyond the immediate dimension of terror, death and loss, and to elevate our eyes to that sacred sphere, to place this terrible tragedy in a higher context, in a brighter light that can redeem it and infuse it with elements of hope, love and unity.
If we could not gravitate to that dimension where infinite Good sits on His throne, at this very moment gazing lovingly upon this city, grieving for and with us and those who literally have lost life or limb, then perhaps evil would have achieved the victory that it sought so fruitlessly on Patriots Day.
But we are people of faith. We believe in a benevolent God who holds a steady hand over history; who even as He allows hatred and fanaticism to have its moment, has also declared time and time again, through the many voices of millennial faiths, that in the end, goodness will always prevail; that, yes, “weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
Events such as the one that grazed us on that bright Monday afternoon just a couple of days ago remind us that we inhabit a mysterious world, where a loving, sovereign God sometimes allows a flash of dark energy to penetrate our domain, but only to ennoble us and to extract from us an even greater measure of good and generosity.
The dilemma of evil is that even as it carries out its dark, sinister work, it always ends up strengthening good, and evoking even more strongly the very light that it so desperately tries to extinguish.
We have all been inspired by the images and anecdotes of heroism and just plain goodness that have already emerged from the first few hours of this unspeakable tragedy: In our weakness, we have been made strong. In our suffering, we have been inspired to pray for others. In our woundedness, we have extended consolation. In our diversity, we have been united. In our perplexity, we have been led again to run to God, and to remember that no matter how strong, fast or successful we may be, we are, ultimately, frail children of eternity, able to find true hope and solace only in the bosom of the Father, in the realm of prayer and spiritual humility.
In that paradox of weakness that we have entered we can become more gracious and more powerful, better channels for the grace of God to run in this broken world.
This is small immediate comfort, of course, to those who lie right now in a hospital bed contemplating a life that has been irrevocably changed, or who grieve a lost or wounded loved one. We do pray, however that they also may receive the grace to look beyond this moment of suffering, and to believe that their life is far from over; that they can rise beyond their pain and their loss to become spiritually stronger and more agile; that they can find fullness of life and happiness and personal realization in the new normal that they now inhabit.
May they never allow bitterness or hatred to linger more than a brief moment in their soul. May they receive that peace that passes all understanding. May they be able to translate into their own spiritual language the reassuring words of the apostle Paul:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter’. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:35-37).
God’s love will yet have the last word. God has not forsaken Boston. God has not forsaken our nation. He merely weaves a beautiful, bright tapestry that includes a few dark strands.
By faith we will leave this sacred space today to continue that noble narrative of patriotism, self-sacrifice and simple striving that was only briefly interrupted by impotent evil, but that now continues, richer, denser and more poignant than ever. May our faith be strengthened, that we might leave from here with this conviction. God bless us all. Amen.