Fourteen years ago today the Twin Towers came down. 9-11 would be forever remembered as a dark day in our nation’s history. I’m accessing my memory bank a bit this morning, remembering where I was, the people I was with, the responses we made. I remember thinking that our lives would never be the same again.
To be honest, our lives haven’t changed as much as I feared they would. There have not been frequent successful terrorist attacks in our cities, and towns, and rural areas to the extent our imaginations took us. Yes, there have been attacks, like the Boston Marathon bombing, but they haven’t been daily or weekly occurrences. Some would-be attackers have been detected and prevented from carrying out their schemes, for which we are grateful.
But our world does not seem like a safer place than before 9-11, does it? As I recall, we were still riding a wave of near euphoria over the collapse of the Soviet Union, and feeling that the world was at peace. Perhaps we would never again send our brave young people to war. How naïve we were. 9-11 revealed to us that there are others who hate us and would destroy us. That hasn’t changed. We even read of our own young people attempting to travel to join forces with ISIS, or who stay at home and plan their own attacks on our own soil. What a contrast with those who have donned the military uniforms of our country and gone into harm’s way, some not returning, some returning wounded in body, mind, spirit.
And now the news is filled with the refugee crisis in Europe. As people pour out of Syria and other troubled countries, they wish, they long for a safe place to raise their families. Who wouldn’t? I think of those centuries ago who braved the Atlantic to come to America for essentially those same reasons. How does that relate to those who stream across our border from Mexico, many having already traveled from other countries, searching for the same thing—opportunities, safety, a place for children to grow up.
I’m going to raise more questions today than I’m going to suggest answers. Some days are days to let the questions stir us, challenge us, stretch us. There are no easy answers.
I do want to reflect on the aborted recent shooting on the French train, where 3 young Americans evidently prevented a great tragedy. This morning I saw an interview with the 4th man who was wounded and the American, while badly cut himself, who stopped his bleeding and likely saved his life. These young men saw the danger, immediately moved toward it instead of away, and no doubt saved the lives of countless people. They did what they could. It was enough, in that case.
Maybe the lesson, for starters, is that we, none of us, should sit idly back and bemoan the ills of the world. Get up, get going, do what you can. As we’ve been seeing in James the past couple of weeks, “Faith without works is dead.” We’ll hear from James again this Sunday, and ponder what the Bible means by “wisdom,” and we’ll hopefully leave to go back home and into the world a bit “wiser,” a bit more grounded in our faith and ready to do what we can to engage in the world as the “living Body of Christ,” as the hands and feet, the heart and voice of Christ.
People of faith, acting in faith, doing what they can…with God’s blessing. Therein lies our hope for a better world.
See you Sunday,