In the Midst of the City

God is our refuge and strength.
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though
the earth should change,
though the mountains shake.
God is in the midst of the city; it
shall not be moved. 
Psalm 46

I love living in a big city. I love the energy of busy sidewalks and crowded expressways. I love the music, art, world class universities and major league sports. I sit in my 23rd story window every evening, look out and thank God for the city.

But cities are vulnerable. People who live in cities are vulnerable. Think about London and the Blitz, Dresden, Hiroshima, New York, New Orleans. People who want to do a lot of damage, physically and emotionally, as efficiently as possible, choose cities.

Once again we look at our city and ponder. Once again, I feel within me, not only anger at the perpetrators of violence and death at the Boston Marathon, but also pride in the resilience, compassion and every day courage of city people.

And as I look out my window this morning at Chicago, I thank God, again, for the city.

Merciful God, we bring to you a welter of emotion this morning: anger at whoever did this, sympathy for innocent victims, runners exhilarated to be finishing the race, spectators enjoying being part of the drama of the day, Patriot’s Day, in Boston. Our hearts once again break for little ones, an eight year old who had just embraced his runner father at the finish line.

We bring it all to you, O God.

And we bring resolve not to live in fear, to go on with our work and play and errands this day, confident that “you are in the midst of the city, and it shall not be moved.”

Bless those who mourn. Strengthen those who help and heal. Give courage to police and patient determination to those who investigate.

And, O God keep us, not only from fear but also hatred. Remind us all day long that we are not alone and that our ultimate security is in you.



  1. Thank you for helpful, thoughtful words.

  2. jimmythegman says:

    Thank you for these words of wisdom. At times like this we immediately ask “Why would God let this happen?”, and then your words remind us that the Lord is there to calm of souls when a question cannot be answered.

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