As the soulful strains of “America the Beautiful” enveloped Trinity Church on Thanksgiving morning, Mary Cok was moved by the lyrics. “Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears.”
The visitor from Rochester, N.Y., reflected immediately on the Boston Marathon bombs exploding April 15, just a few steps from the historic church in Copley Square. “I thought of all the human tears shed for Boston,” said Cok, visiting Trinity for the first time. “I was very aware of what happened, to the victims and the city. Those words really had special meaning for me.”
A cold wind burst through the Back Bay on this first Thanksgiving since the bombs turned the square into a crime scene. Near the Marathon’s finish line, people walked briskly, clutching Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts cups. A giant menorah stood tall. Wreaths decorated the Boston Public Library.
The Thanksgiving Day service at Trinity drew hundreds of people. The Rev. Rita Powell made no direct reference to the tragedy during a homily that focused on the secular and sacred meaning inherent in the national holiday. “We have to train ourselves to be able to see where God’s presence is, and God’s kingdom is happening, even in the midst of things that are perishable,” she said.
Prayers of gratitude rang out, like a tribute to the compassion displayed after the bombings. “Gratitude and generosity are bigger and more true than hatred,” Powell said, greeting worshippers after. “Light always triumphs over darkness.”