I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. I am chastened severely, but God has not given me over to death. – Psalm 118:17-18 (NIV)
April 15th is a special day to me.
On April 15th, 2013, the Boston Marathon was being run. It is one of the oldest peaceful international competitions in the world, and it is the best-attended sporting event in New England by a wide margin. The church I served at that time, Old South Church, sits a quarter of a block from the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We would celebrate the marathon every year and do it to the nines. Hundreds of runners would come to our service for a blessing the day before the marathon.
In 2013, however, the marathon was cut short by a pair of bomb blasts. The days that followed involved a city-wide manhunt; it was the first time I heard the phrase “shelter in place.” People were frightened. Their sense of what was normal was shattered.
Afterward, people had a lot of questions.
Would the traditions of the marathon survive? Would the celebratory spirit of the race continue? The following year, 2014, we had our answer: the race was never the same.
It was much more wonderful.
The largest field of runners ever applied. World-class runners (always the toast of the town) shared the spotlight with ordinary people like Carlos Arredondo who had heroically saved people’s lives by rushing into danger. The traditions that were dearest became dearer still.
That is the resurrection power of God – life triumphing over death is glorious beyond compare.
Resurrecting God, breathe your hope into us today.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.