9/11 Ten Years Later and Forgiveness

From Pastor Todd’s Weekly email.

Our Country will be riveted to the events surrounding the tenth anniversary of 9/11 – the shorthand for the terror attacks that brought the World Trade Center Buildings to the ground. If you have not seen the video of the memorial park it is quite breathtaking. As I watched the video I could not help but think about the times I have walked around the Memorial Park reminding visitors of the Murrah Building bombing in 1995.

Churches will seize the opportunity to speak into that time of stark reflection. One pastor I read about will begin a series on the “end times.” After all, while everyone is thinking about terrorism and fearful of what might be next, this must seem like a good occasion to play on those same fears. Not here though.

No, the texts from the Lectionary this week – the Epistle passage from Romans 14 and the Gospel passage from Matthew 18 – seem more suited to raise questions about our living today rather than how this event fits into any calendar of end time events. Remember, we have already passed May 21 and October is just around the corner.

We believe one of the significant means for our spiritual transformation is engaging the Scriptures depending on the illuminating and appropriating work of the Spirit of God. It is hard not to see how the texts raise questions about how we forgive others when faced with such tragedies. What kind of response should Jesus people give? Should it be the same as everyone else in the wider culture who immediately thought we should deport every non-white? Should it be the same as everyone else in the wider culture who seized the occasion to blame every ill in our Country on those who have immigrated here – legally or not?

Would we as Jesus people be expected by the God who forgives us to forgive others? Should we be expected to lead the way? Should we stop forwarding emails that only foster the fear and hatred for those not like us? Would we as Jesus people be expected to put an end to jokes and ethnic euphemisms for people made in the image of God but who sport features by which we could easily profile them?

You see, in light of the attention that will be on the events in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C., it seems an appropriate time to ask if indeed we have been or are being formed into the image of Jesus when faced with the Scriptures that describe forgiveness. Sometimes following the crowds who left Jesus after the feeding of the multitude in John 6 is easier than standing with Jesus as the disciples did and said, “You have the words of life.”

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One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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