The Religion News Service spoke to a variety of people after last week’s tragic rail derailment in Hoboken, NJ, to find out how their faith was shaken or stirred by the proximity of such dangerous and deadly events.
“We know that even when there are tragedies, there is always good. And even when there are accidents, there are always things to be thankful for,” prayed church elder Brian Hoffert hours after the crash. …
Moshe Shapiro, a Chabad rabbi who is a chaplain with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, believes God was present.
“It is very, very, very tragic that a woman died,” he said. “But I’ve been at the train station and thirty people are at that same spot on other days.
“One death is one too many but just to look at how a train stops and a few hundred people get off, and sometimes a few at one time go left to the Path (commuter trains), others go right to the light rail. It could have been so much worse.”
Brianna Stimpson turned to the rescuers and responders on the ground, rather than to God, with her words of thanksgiving.
“After things like this happen people tend to frequently say ‘thank God’ for controlling things,” she said. “But then you find out after accidents like this, oh, it’s actually the guy who stays awake while driving, that saves you. And it’s the people who keep your heat on, your lights on, who get you safely across the street, it’s some guy who you find out is 10 miles away from you, but who’s been keeping you safe all along and you never said thank you, because you didn’t even know he was doing things to keep you safe.”
In the moments immediately following the crash, Mike Scelzo told RNS, he was not sure if he would be able to leave the train with his life.
“I do believe in God and in fate and it could have been so much worse. …I will say I truly came out of this appreciating life more today than yesterday. I’m more aware of my surroundings and more thankful for things I would not otherwise have noticed. It was an accident and life happens and I’m thankful.”
Read more responses at the Religion News Service.
Featured image: By Alec Perkins from Hoboken, USA – Hoboken Terminal uploaded by victorgrigas via wikimedia