Posted by: morgan1965 | September 9, 2011

Ten Years After 9/11: What Has Become Of Us?

What was your personal reaction in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 tragedy? As for me I prayed; because I did not know what else to do. All of us have had ten years to ponder the impact of this traumatic experience. Has your thinking on the matter changed?

It seems that when tragedy strikes in America, there is a corresponding reaction of unity and we saw this during Katrina. Initially our unity was expressed in our patriotism. People went to church in greater numbers than usual. The American flag was proudly displayed in prominent locations in private and public venues. We sang patriotic songs. We prayed and we shared our resources, both financial and human. Hundreds of volunteers from across the nation went to ground zero to lend a helping hand. We grieved with the bereaved families, and we mourned the several thousand deaths that resulted from the attacks on 9/11.

We were struck by fear. We wanted to know: Who hates our nation? Why do they hate us? We also wanted to punish the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on America. Our national security had been breached and our homeland had been violated.

The official national response was to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States has spent to date more than $1.2 trillion on these two wars. We cannot calculate the human toll. Some reports say that 4,442 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, while1,584 soldiers have died in Afghanistan. Some 31,922 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, while the wounded in Afghanistan number 12,450. Coalition troop casualties number 7,473. No one really knows how many civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then there are the thousands of people who are now refugees.

We were seeking vengeance, but what have we gained? Is the United States a safer place because of our military response to the events of 9/11? The truth of the matter is that we continue to live in fear. Militarism and retribution do not bring about lasting peace. Ten years later, and our nation is still at war.

From a Christian perspective, I believe that the most appropriate response to 9/11 is a quest for peace – God’s peace. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose monument in Washington DC was recently unveiled, still calls us to be a nation of peace. Jesus calls us to be a people of peace. King in the midst of the Civil Rights chaos of the 1960’s implored his followers to turn the other check in the midst of brutal violence. He taught that love is the regulating ideal. Love your enemies. The result was that the walls of segregation came tumbling down.

What has become of us in the aftermath of September 11, 2001? We seem to be a nation divided. Fourteen million people are out of work. We are laboring under the weight of a staggering national debt. We have a Congress that seems unable to overcome its own self-inflicted paralysis. Our president is under siege by both Republicans and Democrats. We continue to be a nation at war.

The Scripture reminds us: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine…’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21) Let us not forget that the whole world is in God’s hands.

Isaiah in looking to the future said: “He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). We have the opportunity to be God’s peace makers. This nation must become a peace maker and a drum major for justice.

As pilgrim disciples, in these troubled times, we must bear the cross with Jesus. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, so let us lift up the name of Jesus, especially on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.

Gracious God, please save us from ourselves. Help us to know Jesus Christ as friend and Savior. Enable us to transcend our differences, political and theological, so that we can discern your will for us. Teach us how to love one another, even our enemies. Grant us wisdom and courage as we strive to be peace makers in a broken world and divided nation. Forgive us of our sins as we forgive others, even as a nation. Lead us into being a nation of peace, justice and equality. Amen

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