Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church


From the Staff @ HIEC

Retribution or Mercy?

Christopher Cole2Over the past few weeks we have been reminded of the “groaning pains of creation” that stymie us as we attempt to get a handle on reality.  As we witnessed the horrific events unfold in Boston, we once again faced the conundrum of a good and holy creation infused with evil, hostility, and violence.

I suspect that we all at some point or another sat glued to the television or internet, wanting retaliation and longing for the greater answers to the age-old question, “Why?”  Why do people kill?  Why did these individuals do this?  Why did God allow this?

As shouts of pain, grief, and anger billowed from the streets of Boston, and from streets throughout the world, we found ourselves reduced again to our common humanity.  Why is it that in these times we seem to be at our best?

As I watched and prayed with the rest of the world, I found myself torn between retribution and mercy.  While every fiber of my being, craving justice, searched with the federal and local authorities for the suspects, my heart poured out for these misguided individuals.  As the shouts for justice grew louder and louder, I was continually brought back to the image of our Lord on the cross. I found myself pondering the question, “Am I leaving space for God in these shouts for justice?  Or do I simply want an eye for an eye?”  What do you think justice looks like through the eyes of God?

How we should respond to the acts in Boston is a complicated question.  It is a question that requires us to recognize, to live with, and live into the tension and passion of a contradicted, restless world.  While one suspect has already received justice, and another awaits justice, how does the truth of this Easter season impact our response to this horrific situation?  If love wins, and as Evelyn Underhill describes it, “comes sincerely from the heart, outstretching towards reality,” how do we embrace, rather than persecute, the Boston bombers?  How do we love all of God’s creation?