Spirit-filled People celebrate tragedy

Posted by Fr. Tere on 09/11/2016

  8:46 am 9-11-2001 World Trade Center North Tower 10:28 am collapses

  9:03 am 9-11-2001 World Trade Center South Tower   9:59 am collapses

  9:37 am 9-11-2001 Pentagon

10:07 am 9-11-2001 Somerset County, Pennsylvania

God of power and justice, like Jeremiah you weep over those who wander from you, turn aside to other gods, and enter into chaos and destruction. By your tears and through your mercy, teach us your ways and write them on our hearts so that we may follow faithfully the path you show us. Amen

Merciful God, your desire to bring us into your commonwealth is so great that you seek us in the places of our ignorance, and the forgotten corners where we hide in despair. Gather us into your loving embrace, and pour upon us your wise and holy Spirit, so that we may become faithful servants in whom you rejoice with all the company of heaven.   Amen.

Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.” 22 “For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’ – in doing evil! But how to do good they know not.”   Jeremiah-4:22

WTC crossIt is difficult to know what to write on this 15th anniversary of the attacks on the United States of New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. Pictures of the acts are indelible in my mind, even though I was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But I had been on the Observation Deck at the very top of the North Tower, had been in the transportation center and the parking lots in the bowels of the same building. I was preparing to go to work and stood there, practically one shoe on – one shoe off, transfixed. Finally, I grabbed a small TV and took off to work, where not one person had heard anything about the attacks and didn’t seem affected at all.

It affected me – it affected the nation – it affected the world. Today we remember and grieve, not only for those lost that day, but for the thousands, the tens of thousands, the millions who have been killed, injured, displaced since that day. If nothing else, the 9-11 bombings brought the world of terror to our attention.

It felt that day that God, indeed, spoke judgment upon us. And since then, upon the entire world. He says, “My people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’ – in doing evil. But how to do good they know not.” The words spoken by Jeremiah are certainly timeless. This is not a special time in history, but it is just that. We as a world know him not and we are so proud of our own knowledge and wisdom.

We know too much to believe we might actually learn something from God. in fact, much of the world knows so much it doesn’t think it needs God, and proclaims loudly there is no God, or we reject the teachings of a god of any sort. We are so ‘wise’ we can throw out all moral guidelines, call law suggestions, declare things we don’t like as sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. Because we think we are much too sophisticated to be ‘stupid children,’ we know we can ignore or change the past and make it our own.

Looking at the world, we are so ‘wise’ that evil abounds. And we are good at it.

I looked but couldn’t find on the internet a picture from 9-11 that sticks in my mind. It was done by a young girl and showed the twin towers with flames coming out of them. From the top of the buildings were people of all races floating in the air, the assumption being they are all on their way to heaven. That picture raised great sorrow in my soul. How few of those thousands were actually Christians? There were people from many lands and cultures, from one of the great deserts of belief, involved in making money, money, money. There were firemen, police, government leaders and bureaucrats, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Hindus, Communists, and, yes, Christians.

While it would make me feel wonderful to believe that all those (and everyone else) were going to be in heaven, and I used to believe this fully, I’m afraid that is not true. No truer than believing that salvation requires no changes in our lives and just means being ‘nice,’ or keeping certain traditions. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It seems to me that only those who die and can go through him can receive eternal life.

What is our job in this? Just sorrow? Or are we to be empowered through our sorrow and the Holy Spirit to take the promise of Jesus to those who don’t know him? If we can’t do that, are we to strongly (and financially) help those who can? We are mostly all blessed with money.

Pastor Tere 

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Christ our Redeemer 

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Oklahoma City, OK  73159

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