12 September 2001

a couple of thoughts

We've had a day to begin processing our shock and grief to some extent. A couple of thoughts.

First, we must continue to pray for the victims, the rescuers, and their families. In addition to the horrendous loss of life, I'm sure the emotional toll this is taking on many people is terrible.

Second, we should pause and give thanks. This could have happened sooner or more often and hasn't, and for that we should be thankful. This could have struck closer to home for many of us, but didn't, and for that we should be thankful.

Third, we all, nonetheless, are affected. I'm reminded of Jesus saying, "Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?...I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Lk 13:4). This is an occasion for repentance and for prayer, "Lord, have mercy."

We have a personal need to reflect upon our own unworthiness: our own moments of hatred and murderous thoughts; those times when we take for granted the gifts of life and health, family and security; our desires for revenge and our unchecked anger; for failure to show compassion; and when we have failed to trust God and his love shown to us in Christ.

But we also have a national need to reflect upon our country's character: how often this kind of sudden terrorism has affected tens of thousands in other nations and our hearts have remained untouched; for the times we have lived by the sword when the way of peace was available; for what our nation has done to distant peoples to make this horror appear to them as a time for rejoicing; and the ways in which our nation has helped to foster an environment which breeds the kinds of desperation, oppression, and disempowerment that would provoke others to lash out in such violent and destructive acts.

And finally we need to pray for conversion: for those who have been affected by this in any way that it might be an opportunity for the Spirit to bring them to trust their heavenly Father; for the hearts of those who are overcome with hatred and anger whether in support of or in reaction to this tragedy; and for our leaders who need to depend upon the One who governs all things.

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.