which way would you runThe Boston Marathon: a day all about running, attended by thousands of dedicated runners,  has become a world wide iconic event.  Yesterday was no exception.  Runners and press from around the world were at the marathon. Thousands more gathered as spectators. Some were Bostonians, family friends, and sports fanatics.  The sidelines were also covered by Police, EMT, Fire Fighters and other first responders.  They were there to help if needed and to keep the runners and the spectators safe. This marathon will be remembered again for the runners.

After a good day at work, I jumped into my car for the short drive home.  I was stunned by the news on the radio, a bombing at the Boston Marathon.  I got home to hear more and see images from the attack.  I was struck by the runners, thousands of them, running in different directions.  There were the runners who were running down the middle of the street toward the finish line as the explosions occurred.  There were people in the moments after the explosions running to get away, and to get to a place they perceived as safe.

But my attention was drawn to the runners running into the smoke, running toward the explosion sites.  There we found Police, the EMTs, the Fire Fighters, and the other first responders.  There were still others, they were the marathon runners, the by standers, the loved ones.  Some were doctors, or nurses, some were not running for any expertise they had, they were running to provide whatever help they could offer.

As I watched the photos and the video I began to ask myself, “Which way would you run?”  While I would like to think I would be found among those who ran to help, and I pray that I would, any answer I could give would only be speculation.   I thought of other runners I have read about.  About the Father who runs to embrace his wayward returning son. (The Prodigal Son –  Luke 15:11-32) I also thought of the women who ran from and the disciples who ran to the tomb of Jesus on that Easter morning. (The Resurrection – John 20:1-9) I also thought of the millions of saints who upon their entrance to heaven must run with great joy to the throne.

Then I came upon the photo of a true hero, someone who ran into the heart of the battle yesterday, who did not run or turn away from the need that was present.  She ran as fast as her aged knees would carry her to that same throne of God.  She dropped to her knees, frightened, perplexed, confused, and perhaps angered.  She went to the one who does not grow tired or weary, to the one who IS LIFE amidst a tragedy.  I don’t know her name but her witness has been seen around the world.  I think that she ran the right way.

Woman at prayer