I wonder how many of us will pause to remember that this Sunday is the 15th anniversary of that event known as 9-11. That day, 09-11-01 was a day that will live in infamy for the attack on these United States. We would do well to pause and to remember those who lost their lives on that day, and those who courageously gave of themselves to respond to those attacks. In many instances, those first responders put their own health at risk in an attempt to help those who were the victims of those attacks.
How many of us recalled that event I cannot estimate; I imagine as was the case with the attack on Pearl Harbor, most of us remember what we were doing when we heard the news. As for me, although I heard the news fairly early in the day, it was not until much later at night that I actually was able to watch and to see for myself what had happened.
It does not take rocket science to notice that the world has not taken huge strides forward in the direction of peace of any sort. Terrorism still dominates the world scene; violence seems only to have escalated. Nor is the threat only limited to foreign acts. In Chicago, it was said earlier this week that police have confiscated a hand gun for every hour of this year 2016. There, as elsewhere, homicides are on the rise. The world is a mess. The net global effect is that people are more suspicious of the stranger, living more in fear, seeking greater isolation, as though it were possible to stop the world.
Unthinkable though it might be, those words from Jeremiah the prophet seem more like a contemporary voice rather than a voice from the dim recesses of history:
“I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. 4:24 I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. 4:25 I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled. 4:26 I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins.”
The world needs a savior, and that right soon. The world needs vision and it needs hope. For we have had too much of destruction and too much of despair. It is said that without vision people perish. And we are witnessing that day by day and inch by inch, not on a National level, but on a global level.
On this 15th anniversary of 9-11, we might do well to ask, “what does any of this have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.?” “What is the Christian response to these times in which we live?” How do we integrate what we profess as Christians with who and what we are on a daily basis as we are confronted with a world that seems to change from moment to moment, instant to instant; a world in which some fundamental assumptions like personal safety cannot be taken for granted?
How do we reconcile the trends of our present time with those promises in our Baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being, and to seek and serve Christ in others? For if we not contented to compartmentalize our faith, we are left with the challenge of how we integrate faith into the fabric of our daily lives. And that is not always an easy thing to do.
And, yet we must strive to do this as we seek to be faithful and to live into the fullness of life in Jesus Christ our Lord.