Lord when did we see you — Grace and the Boston Marathon

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

After an event such as the terrorism bombing of the Boston Marathon a couple of days ago, it is sometimes hard to see where the Lord is or to see God’s grace. And then the stories begin to come out, the pictures are seen, the videos are played, and you begin to catch glimpses that speak to how God’s love was often expressed even in the midst of the event.

Two bombs went off. Yes, many people listened to the police and ran. But, many people actually ran to the site of the explosion and began to help. And the stories that have begun to come out are amazing. Various TV stations have aired video after video of people helping people.

The most iconic photo so far is the one of the long-haired man in the cowboy hat helping the man who lost both of his legs as he takes him to treatment. A native of Costa Rica who immigrated to the USA as an adult, his son was killed several years ago in Iraq. He admits that he went bananas at the news and his recovery has been very difficult. Yet, he not only recovered, but when the test came, he withstood the test, stayed fully self-controlled and became a hero just like his son.

Then there was the looks-like-a-teenager girl struggling to carry a wounded adult woman out of a possible danger zone. She did not run. She grew up all too suddenly, and she behaved like a heroine. Incredibly, a professional football player came to her aid and carried the woman. So the second picture is the teenager and the professional football player, side by side, caring for the wounded woman. He is huge; she is tiny. But, they are bound by their caring concern for the stranger, for their neighbor.

There are too many stories to recount. Over and over, photograph after photograph, person after person, eschewing all danger they ran toward the kill zone with only the thought to help out the strangers, the neighbors, that they could see lying around. Finally, there are the marathon runners who had not finished and who were held back. So many of them turned and ran toward the hospitals to donate blood that the American Red Cross finally had to begin turning donors down because they did not even have enough people available to collect the units of blood that were being offered.

“When did we see you,” ask the saints. When “you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” We did see God’s grace present at the Boston Marathon. We saw it present in those who courageously stayed, those who reached out to help others. We saw it in those who served others and in doing so served Our Lord Jesus Christ himself. May Our Lord richly bless those who reached out, especially on the Last Day when they come before the Lord’s throne.


  1. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    The most iconic photo so far is the one of the long-haired man in the cowboy hat helping the man who lost both of his legs as he takes him to treatment.

    Here’s the real kicker: The man who lost both his legs survived and was the guy who actually IDed the bomber. He saw the guy drop off & place the bomb a couple minutes before the bang, and was able to communicate it to the cops from the ICU. (At which point, the cops were able to trace the two from footage of the finish line.)

    Also, normal rule-of-thumb for fragmentation munitions is one dead for every four wounded. This means there should have been 20-30 dead from the bombs. Only three dead at last count with over 140 wounded (especially with so many serious to disfiguring wounds) is almost unheard of. Two factors reducing the death toll were the bombs were semi-directional, blasting most of the frags (which do the damage) horizontally from sidewalk level; lots of legs blown off, but few of the penetrating multi-organ torso or head hits which kill immediately. And there was a LOT of medical aid available within seconds from the medical teams at the finish line. Normally, the guy whose legs were blown off would have probably bled out and died before medical aid could get to him. But he got aid almost immediately, survived, and IDed the bombers.

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