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Scenes from the strangest week

Posted by on April 2, 2013

In a week that sent us reeling, words fall short. To put it mildly, we echo Rev. Nancy Taylor in saying that it was “the strangest.” It will be a long time, if ever, before we can construct a narrative that makes any kind of sense out of the violence and chaos of last week. But there were some scenes, some moments so poignant that we hope that when we look back at these days, these moments of hope are woven into the stories we tell.

.::. .::. .::.

Monday, April 15, 2013 – As word gets out about the explosions, waves and waves of people took to the internet to check in on each other. Even though cell lines were clogged or disabled, members of The Sanctuary community reached out to one another and spread the word of each other’s safety.

Tuesday, April 16 – 10:00 AM – Members of the Sanctuary’s music team met to rehearse for Thursday’s service. We had planned to meet at Arlington Street Church, just three blocks from the Marathon’s finish line. Before the rehearsal, the musicians looked out onto Boylston Street from the church’s roof. It was desolate, with space blankets and gatorade cups still strewn everywhere. Through song, through sharing, through being together, our tender hearts began to thaw from the shock. We began to envision what healing might look like.

Sanctuary Team leaders Dave Ruffin, Joanna Lubkin, and Mark Buckles (on piano, not seen in this picture) lead the community in Sarah Dan Jones' "Meditation on Breathing"

Sanctuary Team leaders Dave Ruffin, Joanna Lubkin, and Mark David Buckles (on piano, not seen in this picture) lead the community in Sarah Dan Jones’ “Meditation on Breathing”

Tuesday, April 16 – 8:00 PM – Members of The Sanctuary Boston joined congregations from around the Back Bay for an interfaith candlelight vigil back at Arlington Street Church. More than 700 people attended, and we joined in song, in prayer, and in silence.  You can read more from the New Yorker, listen to audio of Dave, Jo, and Mark leading the “Meditation on Breathing”, and view some great pictures from the Charlestown Patch. Our message: Love is bigger than fear.

Thursday, April 18 – At our Sanctuary worship, Teo Drake spoke about how spiritual practice can give us enough grounding and nourishment that we can allow our hearts to be broken and to be broken open. We sang, we prayed, we … didn’t want the service to end.

Worship despite "shelter in place"; we took shelter in each other. Including Sanctuary folks Schuyler, Sarah, Seth, Sean, and Jo.

Worship despite “shelter in place”; we took shelter in each other. Including Sanctuary folks Schuyler, Sarah, Seth, Sean, and Jo.

Friday, April 19 –  Lockdown. Isolated in our homes in Watertown, Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Newton. Glued to the news and the social media. Helicopters. Sirens. And yet, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Again and again this week, community broke through the ice of fear. The Harvard Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Students (HUUMS) held their noon worship online, giving us a place to be together despite a “shelter in place” order that kept us closed in wherever we were.

Sunday, April 21 – The Sanctuary Boston joined in with other Back Bay congregations in an interfaith service at the barricade at Berkeley and Boylston Streets. Torah scrolls mixed with gold crosses mixed with comfort dogs mixed with singing mixed with people giving out free hugs.

.::. .::. .::.

When we look back on this time, and people ask us, “Wasn’t there so much fear? So much anger?” We can say, “Yes. But there was also love. There was also hope. There was also faith. We were together.”

One Response to Scenes from the strangest week

  1. sanctuaryboston

    From Sanctuary community member Jessica Gingold’s blog from last week… a scene from her week and the worship which we shared together Thursday:

    I was locking my bike in front of church tonight as the three boys walked down the street. Teenagers, texting with headphones in while carrying out a conversation, “Can you imagine dude, being down there… not running away, but running toward the violence. Helping even when they are covered in blood. So much blood.”

    “You just gotta tune it out I think. You just gotta forget there is blood and help.”


    They walked on. I took a deep breath, reminding myself that they were not talking about some foreign war or a video game. No, they were walking down the streets of Boston just a few blocks from where the bombs went off three days ago. They were talking about their home. My home, if only temporary.

    The lump formed in my throat as I biked down Beacon St., but it was when I stepped through the front doors of the church that my eyes welled up. Once the music began, the tears came, almost against my will. My thoughts vascillated between being so grateful to be in a place where I could cry, yet also analyzing myself—why now? why are you crying now when you were “fine” all day?, and then wondering if I was allowed to feel this sad. I am not from Boston. I’ve joked since coming here that I am on a study-abroad trip for a year from the Midwest. My home here is across the river from Boston in Somerville. I attend Harvard. Copley square was a place I had been meaning to go all year, but had not yet made it to. And now I instantly want to launch into the reasons I am allowed to feel sad… I had been watching the marathon just before. My friend’s dad was running it, though, thankfully, was having a bad race and did not make his target time, the time the bomb went off. That I feel this as an ally to the pain so many feel directly. But… that all misses the point. It is not about who got hurt most or who was closest to the blast though those things do matter. This blast shook more than the ground beneath it.