Today we are remembering Alphege, an 11th Century Archbishop of Canterbury and the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be martyred.
Alphege was in office during a time when the Danes were overrunning England. He was captured and held for an exorbitant ransom. He knew that his people could not afford such a high cost to buy his freedom, and he refused to allow them to do so.
The angry Danes ended up throwing things at him after a dinner party - bones, plates, perhaps even an animal head, and last of all an axe, which killed him.
All of this is good to hear, I think, during a week in which we have witnessed more violent death in our world; we have seen another ordeal, which leaves us fearful and grieving.
And so do my resentments and my indignation and my ideals. We can’t escape that, nor should we. We’re not everywhere, and we shouldn’t keep our heads in the sand, either.
When bad stuff happens, we need to look for God, to see what God is doing in the middle of it all, for God is always in the middle of the things that are so terribly broken. Not as a cause of them but as the one who is there, has been there, caring for the sheep, binding up the wounded, suffering and yet also deeply present, abiding.
God is love. And there was a great outpouring of love in Boston on Monday as well as explosions of hate.