Much has been written and spoken about the bombs at the Boston Marathon which killed and injured so many a week ago. This includes many questioning the appropriateness of giving excessive attention to bombings in Boston whilst ignoring similar atrocities in Baghdad and elsewhere.
One post I read on Facebook represents these views. Yes, let’s pray for Boston. But what about Baghdad? What about the series of bombings there, which killed at least 30 and injured hundreds? Where’s the press coverage, the facebook campaign, the messages of love for them? Innocent people died there too. Being privileged and American doesn’t make you more significant. We’re all human. We all matter.
It is this that got me thinking. It is true that the impact of a bomb at the Marathon in Boston is greater than a bomb in Baghdad, it is also true that we all matter because we are all made in the image of God. However are we impacted more by Boston than Baghdad because we value rich Americans more than poor Iraqi’s? I don’t think so.
Most of us were impacted by the events in Boston because we could see ourselves there. I have run the London Marathon on a number of occasions and can easily picture what it must have been like to be close to finishing a marathon and a bomb going off. I can easily see how I could have been killed by such a bomb, I can put myself in the place of those who were killed. Many others who haven’t run a marathon would have watched a marathon and can also easily see that it could have been them who lost their lives. Therefore we are impacted more by Boston because “it could have been me”, bombs in Baghdad doesn’t have the same impact because for the majority of us we can’t so easily see ourselves impacted by it. Which is the profound point I came to – the majority of us can’t see ourselves impacted by it, but some can!
As part of a multi-ethnic family of God we have brothers and sisters who we worship with most weeks who relate to world-wide events in different ways to us. Atrocities associated with the elections in Kenya course anxiety to some; inter-community violence in Nigeria will severely impact others; the violence against Christians in Egypt will bring concern to the Egyptians amongst us; attacks on Christians in Pakistan feels very close to others. There are even some people for whom the bombings in Iraq will have more impact than the Boston bombs.
We should be shaken to the core when horrific events occur, such as the Boston bombings, which seem very close at hand. Let us remember also be sensitive to the pain others feel at events in other parts of the world which seem very close to them. We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
We have the privilege of being part of a family made up of people from many different nations all seeking to bring God’s kingdom on earth; bringing hope in the midst of despair. Whenever events take place that bring the sense of despair close to some let us all be sensitive to that, and increase our resolve to do all we can to share the hope we ourselves have received.
WRITTEN BY TONY THOMPSON
Tony is an Elder at Hope Church Luton and part of the Leadership team.
He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.