SALT LAKE CITY — Dean Ray Waldon's heart ached Tuesday as he once again stood before his congregation at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark to address a tragic attack, offering hope to the group that came to pray for those affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Waldon recalled addressing his flock following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City, and found it hard to believe how many times they had united in the wake of "another senseless act of violence."
The group of parishioners, volunteers and clergy numbered only about 20 people. Waldon asked the group to offer prayers in place of alms, focusing on those left dead, wounded or emotionally harmed when two bombs exploded in the middle of cheering crowds at the race's finish line Monday.
"Christians have always done what we do best in the face of adversity, and that is pray, to believe in God and give the community hope," he said.
That hope is found in faithfully remembering that "Christ will make all things right in his time," Waldon said.
The church's bell tolled for each of those killed or wounded in the bombing, as well as one additional chime for those still unidentified in the attack, as the group prayed for comfort on behalf of all who are wounded or mourning, law enforcement and first responders who rushed to help, and medical teams who treated the victims.
Gail Wix, a Salt Lake City resident and native Bostonian, said the service connected her to family and friends on the East Coast. She was especially struck by the plea to pray for the individuals who planted the bombs.
"All I can do is say my prayers, and hope a lot," she said, emotion in her voice. "That's one of the hardest things we do, is praying for people we just don't like for whatever reason."
Wix is a longtime volunteer in the congregation and went to the church Tuesday to help with the service, as well as to find comfort.
Salt Lake City resident Tom Melton said he was horrified to learn of the explosions that targeted men and women who had trained for years in the their moment of victory.
"I've run marathons, and I know how exciting it is to finish," he said. "For that to be the end seemed like such a tragedy."
Melton expressed his hope after the service that the people in Boston would know they are remembered, even as far away as Utah, and he encouraged them to be strong.
"I was just hoping that the peace we had tonight would be shared by other people in the community," he said. "It's really such a powerful thing to gather together as the Lord taught us, to gather together and pray, and to do that was very important."
God surely wept at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Waldon said, assuring that "God will triumph" if those who follow him strive to care for those in need.
Waldon's message Tuesday emphasized that terrorism, whether foreign or domestic, is meant to create fear, and he urged the group to find courage through their faith and leave vengeance to God.
"That is where there is hope," he said. "Hope that our children will be able to play in the parks, run the marathons and go to the airports, because this world is at peace, and that is the hope in Jesus Christ."