The Washington Post

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

Photo of children's television host Fred Rogers visiting children at the Memorial Home for Crippled Children (now The Children's Institute, IDs unknown), taken by the writer's father, Jim Judkis, circa 1979 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Jim Judkis/JIM JUDKIS)

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.



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