Today’s Boston Globe contains an op-ed piece entitled, “Marathon attack removes shield from sporting events.” As the author points out, sports used to be a place where you could retreat from the harsh realities of daily life. After Monday’s bombing, however, sports and reality are now one and the same.
There is an inside-journalism quip at the Globe that those in Sports work in the Toy Department of journalism. We’re rarely confronted with the kinds of grave circumstances, grisly scenes, and weighty issues that our news counterparts are forced to wade into. Sports is largely about trivia (Who was the last athlete to do this or that?) and in the grand scheme of existence trivial.
What we were reminded of on Patriots Day is that there is no Toy Department in life. There is no toy chest in an open, democratic society that you can bury your head into. The sporting world and the real world are not alternate realities. They are not parallel universes. They’re intertwined.
That’s why this was a particularly insidious attack because it was conducted on more than a world-class event in a world-class city, but on an idea. The idea that sports provide a safe haven, a distraction, a timeout from the unspeakable horrors and intractable troubles of the real world. . . . Sports are supposed to serve as an escape from the worries, wars, and raging conflicts of the real world, a sort of societal sanctuary.
As the author points out, all of us long for security, a safe haven. We want to be shielded from the enemies that seek to hurt us. Sports used to provide that sanctuary, but no longer. That source of security is now insecure itself.
The challenge we face now is to find a source of security that does not change. Fortunately for us, there is hope. The writer of Psalm 46 claims that he has found such a source. He boldly declared that God was the source of his security. In fact, he describes God as a refuge, a strength, a help, and a fortress.
God is our refuge and fortress. He is our shelter, our hiding place. We can go to him and know that we are safe.