Patriots’ Day 2013

in Uncategorized
April 16th, 2013

listen to the University Service of Healing after Patriots’ Day 2013

Dear Friends,

Grace to you and peace.  I bring you greetings from the leadership and community of Marsh Chapel, and three brief words in the wake of yesterday’s tragic events.

First, our thanks to you for your concern about us here, and members of the community.  Our annual brunch was joyfully and fully attended, with words from Lincoln, bagels and quiche, some Longfellow poetry, and the singing of ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’.   Then, the afternoon.  Several of our friends and families were close to the finish line near 3pm, but all have emerged (physically) unharmed.  Chapel staff provided hospitality (rest, refreshment, prayer, and counsel) to 120 or so who came in later Monday afternoon.  At this writing, we know of one BU student hurt, who is in now in stable condition.  We appreciate your contacts, your prayers, and your thoughts.  Our brunch and marathon watch will be held, with energy, again on Patriots’ Day next year.

Second, we encourage you to continue in ways many have already begun, to find effective modes of help for those well beyond our own community who have been hurt, one way or another.  A card, a note, a check, a gift, a prayer—we all have things we can do to lean forward and help those harmed.  One of our students is active in bringing a blood bank to campus in the next few days.  It is healthy and it is helpful, in many directions, to find one thing or two things creatively to do, to bring some good to bear in the face of this tragic violence.

Third, and most significantly, we will want to live with faith and courage in the days ahead.  The radiance of Easter is still with us, shadowed as it is by Monday’s unspeakable violence.  Thankfully, from Monday itself, we have examples of people modeling dimensions of healthy spirituality.  I will only write here of the runners and the race (a metaphor not unknown to the biblical mind by the way—Psalm 19, 1 Cor 9, Hebrews 12).   I picture all the runners practicing months and weeks.  I see the lacing of the running shoes.  I hear the starting whistle and the throng surging forward.  We saw at Kenmore Square, the brightly attired elderly man, the young guy with blue hair, the student running in a tuxedo, the troop from a nearby college ROTC program, the woman running—as so many—in memory, the folks in wheel chairs, the straining forward, by mile 25, of striving, disciplined energy.  They all are models for us of running the race and finishing the course. We can lace up and run, too, in our own ways.  God’s goodness, love and presence beckon us onward.

At 5:30pm tonight (Tuesday, 4/16/13), the university community will gather on Marsh Plaza for a vigil to remember and honor those hurt and killed on Patriots’ Day.  At 5:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday, 4/17/13) our community will gather for a formal service of ordered worship, in honor and memory, in the Marsh Chapel nave.  And of course we will be together for worship on Sunday (4/21/13) at 11am.  Please join us for one or more of these services.




Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill

Dean, Marsh Chapel

Professor, New Testament and Pastoral Theology

Chaplain to the University, Office of Religious Life

Boston University