The following ran on the April 16, 2013, edition of the United Methodist News Services. Theology professor Rebekah Miles provided expertise for this story.
April 19, 2013
By Heather Hahn
Evil struck Monday, but by Tuesday it was clear evil did not have the last word.
United Methodists in Boston and around the globe testified to the ways they saw God in action after two explosions shattered the peace of the Boston Marathon, claiming at least three lives and leaving more than 170 injured.
“In our world, evil is alive and well,” said the Rev. Jim Kinder. “The reality is that that one act of evil … began an onslaught of just the hands and feet of people doing the work of God, right here loving people and caring for people.”
The pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Ala., completed the Boston Marathon about an hour before the bombs detonated. It was his first time at the event, which drew participants from 96 countries.
“As soon as I got out of the shower, my phone was lit up with people texting and calling me,” he said. “In fact, my senior pastor, (the Rev.) Jeff Spiller, was the first person to text me and asked if I was all right.”
He said he could see God at work in the faith community reaching out to check that he was safe. He also witnessed God among the people of Boston.
After the attack, he said, people at the race could not get back to their checked bags, so locals downtown helped people find cabs and even offered strangers places to stay....
It is natural for people to feel fear after these acts of violence, said the Rev. Rebekah Miles, a United Methodist elder and professor of ethics and practical theology at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.
“But sometimes it’s a fear that is exaggerated,” she said. Miles knows from experience. When she was 9, she and her family witnessed a terrorist attack during a 1970 trip to the Old City of Jerusalem. Her family was about a block away from the bombing. “I think love is always the response to fear.”...