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.


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

Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

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.

From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

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.

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.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

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

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.