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pastors' blog

Reflections on the Boston Bombings

Posted by Aaron Knight on April 29, 2013

Some thoughts from Kent Forkner, one of our elders at SSBC.

As I’ve been pondering the horrific events from two weeks ago, I’ve been asking myself how should I, as a Christian, respond?

      1)   How should I think and respond differently given what I have in Christ? 

      2)   How should I equip myself to better share what I believe? 

      3)   How can I share the truth of Christ with others and help others to see things beyond the temporal at such a time as this? 

I seem to have more questions than answers and I have talked with others who are struggling with the same questions.  While I don’t have all the answers by any means, let me share some thoughts.

How should I respond?  I think that I first need to admit my fear even while acknowledging that, as a Christian, I know Christ can and will carry me through.  Whether we were at the marathon, had a friend impacted by the bombings, or are just struggling with emotional shock, we can be assured that Christ provides for us and cares for us in all times and especially in times like these. Philippians 4:13 promises us, “[We] can do all things through him who strengthens [us].”  As we learned  during the sermon on Sunday, that verse means that Christ provides for our needs, including our spiritual needs.  He does this directly through his Word, through the Lord’s Supper, and through his churches.  Also, in Matthew 10:28, Christ reminds us to “not fear those who can kill the body.” What wonderful promises we have that He cares for our needs – both spiritual and physical.  We can rest in Him.

Next, should I celebrate in the same way greater Boston is celebrating the success of removing the immediate threat?  While I think there is something compelling about coming together as “one Boston,” and celebrating what’s been accomplished, shouldn’t we also be asking the deeper questions? If we say that we want to come together, what do we want to accomplish and for what purpose?  For instance, why and how could we come together in a more lasting manner?  Do we think that we can eliminate evil from our communities?  I don’t believe that is fully possible. Yet we are called to bear fruit in this life, while making our deeper focus on His kingdom.  Can we as Christians make a difference in this life?  Yes, but the differences we make are a secondary result of our striving for the eternal.  I am reminded of what C.S. Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you will get neither.”

How should I equip myself to better share what I believe? With my eyes set on Him, I will be more willing to engage broadly in people’s lives and share the gospel, the most important thing to me.  The gospel is the message that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, and that Christ died on the cross and rose again to save us.  Praise God!  Through that plan, which is the Bible’s overarching narrative, I can now have a personal relationship with Christ.  If I truly believe in that, the question actually becomes how could I NOT share it with others?

In doing that, I must continually affirm my own need for His grace.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all.”  That’s a humbling statement and one that I find helps me to approach others with the proper attitude.  Perhaps the past week’s events will help me to be more willing to take the time and energy to engage with others.  Practically speaking for me, that means either at work, while commuting, or even on the golf course.  And I will pray ahead of time for those opportunities to share the gospel, since doing that always seems to lead to more opportunities for meaningful engagements with others.

How can I then share and have others consider the truth of Christ?  Perhaps we can ask some relevant questions.  Do we really think that those who attempt to terrorize us are somehow defeated?  While the law enforcement agencies did a terrific job, and we’re very thankful, it’s once again becoming evident that clues were missed that maybe could have prevented the bombings.   It seems that we will always remain vulnerable to this type of attack. Do we really believe then that the things we love of this world cannot be taken away?  If we admit that the things of this world are fleeting, then what do we believe in? Perhaps as we ponder these questions, we can challenge others to consider life’s uncertainties and even point them to the answers found in the Bible.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been two weeks since the marathon; before that life seemed more carefree.  I urge you to be praying for opportunities to share the truth of Christ this week, while it’s still fresh for all of us.  With that thought in mind, I end with a challenge for you and me through Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders from Acts 20:24, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

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