This undated photo provided by Bill Richard shows his son, Martin Richard, in Boston. Martin Richard, 8, was among the at least three people killed in the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013.
The biblical prophet Isaiah had a vision of peace: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
Today that little child is 8-year-old Martin Richard, killed in the bombing at the Boston Marathon. A friend of his teacher apparently posted a picture Martin had made that is leading the nation, teaching of peace.
Martin’s life was cruelly cut short, and his mother and sister, who survived, are gravely injured. Our hearts go out to this family that has sustained so much loss.
Martin’s words–“No more hurting people. Peace”–have moved a nation to consider peace, to know peace, to build peace, to live toward peace in the face of unspeakable, calculated cruelty.
“You shall not hurt or harm on all my holy mountain,” Isaiah continues (11:9).
It is breathtaking and heartbreaking that the wisdom of the ages comes through the words of this child, teaching a nation.
This time, we don’t yet know who designed and orchestrated this act of terror. There is a collective national breath-holding, as we are poised to find someone, blame someone, punish someone, maybe just anyone, so we can relieve the tension and vent.
Martin’s here, teaching peace. Peace means not hurting people. Peace means not wanting a scapegoat, a political club with which to beat the other side, and a way to vent our very justifiable rage.
If you honor this little, very brief and wonderfully important life, take a moment and let his words teach you.
Of course, we need to find who did this, and we must prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
But this time, let us listen to Martin and not give in to the impulse to seek revenge.
Peace is not hurting people.
Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008), Thistlethwaite is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her most recent book is “#Occupy the Bible: What Jesus Really Said (and Did) About Money and Power.”