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Our Better Lights in the Darkness

My sister-in-law kindly alerted me to this news report, “13 Examples Of People Being Awesome After The Attack On The Boston Marathon.” Please check it out: http://www.businessinsider.com/inspiring-images-from-boston-2013-4

My first reaction was utter amazement at the indomitable human spirit. I am familiar with the “fight or flight” response to danger, but at our very best as living and loving creatures, we run towards the horror, in the face of fear, to give a helping hand. That is love, an incredible empathy that entails a willingness to sacrifice. It is not pre-meditated; I can’t imagine that those rushing into the smoke knew exactly what they were going to do. They followed something good and true embedded in their DNA. They followed their hearts, the best lights of their nature. They loved. Incredible!

My second thought is a sense of gratitude for social networking media. When you read the article, you’ll see examples of this technology used at some of its very best. We have the ability to connect with one another, reach out, and offer assistance. There is strength in numbers and an inertia created from one, selfless act after another – a tidal wave of kindness across Twitter, Facebook, and the like. You read such examples of people giving, offering, striving, serving . . . and you want to help too!

So here’s my hope: let’s continue to be our best. In the days ahead, let’s react with compassion and grace. I pray that we will follow the better lights of our nature and not succumb to fear. This is an earnest prayer, my friends, because the same technology that brings people together can be used to spread hate and lies. The same impulse that inspires a crowd to move as one to offer assistance can be channeled into a mob mentality of violence.

In the coming days, continue to renew that inner spark; feed the flame of our better lights. I will refer time and time again to a refrain written by John Bell and the Iona Community that is a compilation of the words of Jesus: “Don’t be afraid; my love is stronger; my love is stronger than your fear. And I have promised always to be near.” You can listen to a refreshingly simple and sweet version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW1Mo36qh4o

And I will commit to heart this comment by comedian Patton Oswalt referenced in the article above:

“So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’”

Amen – let it be so.

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.

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One Response to Our Better Lights in the Darkness

  1. Andrew Taylor-Troutman April 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    A friend brought this longer version found on a children’s sing-a-long recording. I highly recommend it as well!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoYKTFe9dVw

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