One week removed from the lockdown of my city, spring is reclaiming our streets. In the moments and days following the Boston Marathon bombings, I watched my hometown transform into a combination of tragedy and heroism. In the week since, I have seen us move forward stronger and prouder, ever more dedicated to the causes of peace and justice. As someone blessed with full time work in interfaith engagement, I am proud. And as a Jew, we could not be at a more relevant time of year as we count the Omer; these are the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot, commemorating the journey from Egypt to Sinai as spring days lengthen.
Any reflection on the recent events in Boston must begin with the same clear statement. I have been stunned and grief-stricken, and condemn these violent acts. It is a blessing to live in a country with the dedicated protection of law enforcement officials. May we all find healing in our shared grieving, and may our doctors and clergy find continuing strength as we move forward.
At this time as at all times, the work of interfaith cooperation is critical. Last week two brothers acted in the supposed name of religion. There is another story that has not made the news with such intensity, though, the story of scores of Bostonians working for interfaith cooperation: The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, several seminaries, my own organization Interfaith Appalachia, and countless other institutions, congregations, and individuals.
These events, and the continuing cooperative responses from across the community, fall in the midst of the Omer. The counting begins with the departure from oppression in Egypt, and concludes with celebration of communal revelation at Sinai. Each day in Boston we are moving from the shock and vulnerability of last week towards cooperation and understanding.
As we count the Omer, we undo our bondage as spring unfolds in a knockout array of scents and colors. The vibrancy of nature is mixing with the energy of our streets. Our city is moving forward with purpose and vision, remembering that we have much more work yet to do.
Image by Thesupermat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons