Blogging Towards Sunday, September 11th
10 years since the events of 9/11
Terror. What is it ? For many of us we remember the events of 10 years ago today with terror. Yet it’s also called a day in which violent acts reigned down terror and then resulted in other terror. So what is it a noun, an adjective, a verb? We often focus on how that day changed us, but for many of us – I think of my children – they were born afterwards, they’ve never known anything else? Wether we’re hawks or doves, on the left or on the right, tea or coffee partiers, we are shaped in part by this memory: fear, confusion, surprise, the reality of pluralism in the 21st century, a different experience of how some see us as the US.
But how does it shape and impact faith? I remember hearing it said on 9/12/11 that more people would come to faith in God, and yet it also seems that more people have become agnostic or atheistic because of the portrait of faith seen in acts of terror in the name of God. Published atheist Christopher Hitchens in his book God is Not Great wrote, “The level of intensity [if religious fervor] fluctuates according to time and place, but it can be stated as a truth that religions does not, and in the long run cannot, be content with its own marvelous claims and sublime assurances. It must seek to interfere with the lives of nonbelievers, or heretics, or adherents of other faiths. It may speak about the bliss of the next world, but it wants power in this one.”
Colossians 3:17, suggested by Emma Fleming this morning as our text, is a challenge to that statement and worldview. “ And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” How do we live a life for, in and by faith and yet stand against faith that inspires terrorism? How do we live such faith alongside neighbors who are pious, nonviolent and faithful to a different tradition and worldview? How do we live as followers of Jesus in a world that seems more focused on the next big media event? If God is on the side of his people, who is that? Us? Them? All of us? How do we love and live as Jesus calls us to - turning the cheek, loving our enemies, giving to those who ask, inviting the least of these to the table feast?