Mr. Rogers gives hope while social media becomes virtual house of prayer for Boston

Facebook, Twitter and other social media suddenly became houses of prayer for Boston, and for the country, as explosions ripped … Continued

Facebook, Twitter and other social media suddenly became houses of prayer for Boston, and for the country, as explosions ripped through the area of the finish line at the famous Boston Marathon. Reports of three deaths, multiple serious injuries and possible other explosive devices filled the day with horror.

My social media alerted me to this horror, as Christian, Unitarian, Muslim, Jewish, and other religious friends shared prayerful concern. Humanist friends added their compassion and concern, flowing in from all over the world. This ironically mirrored the international and other diversity of the marathon itself.

#PrayersforBoston started trending on Twitter with people from many political and religious persuasions weighing in. Boston friends are using Facebook to contact churches in the area, and begin the task of arranging for support for victims and survivors.

Yes, there is evil in the world. But as a crescendo of prayer lit up cyberspace, we do have to realize that goodness and connection are also part of human nature.

One of the most shared Facebook posts on the day of the Boston attack was a quotation from Presbyterian minister and beloved children’s show host, Fred Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

As I watched Monday’s “terror” in Boston unfold, along with millions of Americans and people around the world, and I read the Mr. Rogers quote, I realized the helpers so outnumber those who maim and kill and bomb and shoot.

Mr. Rogers zipped around the Internet, ministering as only he could do, joining in our prayers and giving us hope. Thank you.

About

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology and immediate past President of Chicago Theological Seminary. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her most recent books are "#OccupytheBible: What Jesus Really Said (and Did) About Money and Power" and, as contributor and editor, "Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War."
  • Jorge Johnson

    While we’re at it, say a prayer for those whose lives are so miserable that they would undertake such an act of terror.

    Praying to God, the ultimate act of love and charity, knows no bounds.

  • Catken1

    Isn’t it funny that in times of death and cruelty, so many of us instinctively reach for Mr. Rogers for comfort, even now?

    I’m not Jewish, but the Jewish phrase fits perfectly here – “May the memory of the righteous be a blessing.”

  • Doc Holliday

    Prayer??? Why is prayer being shoved down the throats of atheists? This should be banned on public forums so as not to offend non- believers.

    Liberals only want prayer around when they need it.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.