We ended our vacation in style with a sunset cruise on the Liberty Clipper, a 125 ft sailboat, part of the Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships. It was a memorable evening, which included hearing the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” firing her cannons at sundown.
Category Archives: Boston
We spent a couple of hours Sunday afternoon people watching at Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. The streets and squares were filled with street artists and performers–Spider-man, dancers and acrobats, jugglers, musicians, and mimes. The most entertaining was Bob the balancing juggler and Dick’s Last Resort, a restaurant that specialized in loud, obnoxious waiters and putting dunce hats on guests. Truly a memorable experience.
Jon, Carol, and I spent a cold New Years Eve Day in Boston. You know it is a cold day when the ice sculptures are not melting! We walked part of the Freedom Trail and saw the rest from the warm confines of a tour bus. To our dismay, many of the historical sites (churches, USS Constitution, etc.) were closed for the holiday or on winter hours. But we enjoyed our day there.
Sunday afternoon Carol and I ventured into Boston to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Museum of Science. It was fascinating to see biblical history come alive. I found myself thinking through parts of the Old Testament Walk Thru during portions of the presentation. Great afternoon. I was able to take a few pictures. Unfortunately, the most interesting part, the scrolls themselves, is in a section where no photography is allowed.
I found one thing highly ironic–towards the end of the exhibit is a place called, “The Ten Words” (The Ten Commandments). You can push a button (1-10) and that commandment will be displayed on the screen while a voice reads the words. At the same time that the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is being spoken, one person’s cell phone rings (cell phones were to be silenced at the beginning of the exhibit), the person answered and carried on a conversation in front of the display. Hmmm.
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.
How should a Christ follower pray in response to yesterday’s tragedy in Boston? The apostle Paul’s instructions in Colossians 4:2-3 give us three specific ways to pray.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
First and foremost, we need to pray—continually, diligently, and steadfastly.
Pray for the police and FBI agents who are hunting for the perpetrators. Pray that clues and signs will be noticed and leads will be followed. Pray the guilty will be found and justice will be done.
Pray for the doctors and nurses who are treating the injured. Pray they will have skill, wisdom, and compassion as they care for the wounded.
Pray for those who experienced the trauma firsthand. Pray for healing to take place, both physically and emotionally.
Pray for those who grieve the loss of loved ones killed in the attack. Pray they will turn to God and find hope in him. Pray that Christ followers will come alongside to offer comfort, grace, and hope.
Secondly, pray intelligently and watchfully. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the apostle Paul explains what will happen in the last days.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Yesterday’s attack occurred on Patriot’s Day, a day of celebration as Massachusetts remembers the attacks in Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, that began the American Revolutionary War. Boston celebrates on the third Monday in April with the MLB Red Sox playing in the morning, the running of the Boston Marathon during the day, and the NHL Bruins playing at night.
The attack also occurred during a stretch of violent anniversaries. Four months ago on December 14, 2012, a gunman attacked the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City was bombed. On April 20, 1999, two gunman massacred students at Columbine High School in suburban Denver, CO. We now have a new Boston massacre to add to the list.
Add these events together along with many others and you cannot help but wonder if we are indeed in the last days. We need to pray with our eyes wide open to what is occurring around us.
Lastly, we need to pray that God will give us boldness to speak up and share our faith. Only when Christ reigns in the hearts of men and women will the world experience peace. As Christ followers and those who have the hope of eternal life, we need to make the gospel clear. We need to speak loudly that Christ died for the sins of the world and only through him can we find forgiveness, hope, and healing.