I was back in Boston last week. Most of my meetings were along the waterfront.
But Sunday I worshiped at Trinity Church just yards from the first bombing. I had coffee at the Starbucks many of us saw in video footage of the second detonation.
Boylston Street was bustling despite the labyrinth of police barricades for Sunday’s Hunger Walk. The spring weather was spectacular: perfectly sunny in the high sixties.
The blast sites are cleaned, repaved, open to the public, and — unless you know where to look — entirely inconspicuous. I heard one man saying, “It happened somewhere close here, but I’m not sure where.” He was less than ten feet from where the first bomb exploded.
In the three weeks since the marathon trees have begun to bud. At the site of the second blast an entire tree was removed as part of evidence collecting. A new tree, still sporting a bright green root bag, has been staked upright to fill the gap.
Memorials — mostly flowers, hand written notes, and running shoes — have been moved and continue to accumulate at Copley Square across from Old South Church and the Public Library. Opposite Boylston from the memorial corner a quartet (of Berklee students?) was busking with soft jazz.
Several “Boston Strong” signs could be seen. Even more it seemed to me thanking First Responders, one reading: “Police, Fire, EMTs, and EVERYONE!”
While we want to learn whatever there is to learn — including mistakes that can teach us — there is good cause to commend Boston’s response. From what I could see the recovery is going well. Monday Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick noted, “We showed the world in the immediate aftermath of the attack what a civilization looks like…” On Sunday Boston was looking especially competent, creative, commercially vibrant, and compassionate.
In the Episcopal liturgy the Prayers of the People precede the offering of the Peace. A wide range of intercessory prayers are offered. Trinity has authored its own version but concludes as is traditional with a prayer for the departed. Sunday this included: Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi, Sean Collier, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. There was a perceptible quaver in the voice of the woman leading the prayer.
The congregation responded: “Heal us and guide us.”