The following is part of my message the Sunday after eleven terrorists guided four planes and their passengers into the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured more than 6,000 others and shook our nation to its core. I believed then and I still believe that the events of 9/11 gave our nation a unique opportunity to turn to God in humility and faith. But, have we seized that opportunity?
…There is no making sense of this tragedy, but we can make their lives and their deaths meaningful.
If we walk away from this catastrophe without having learned anything, we would make this an even greater tragedy. We must not let their deaths mean nothing to us.
I hope this week has found you at times frozen from the busyness of project deadlines, soccer games, rushing from errand to errand. I hope you at times forgot all about the To-Do list that as you woke up Tuesday morning seemed so terribly important. I hope you used that pause in the hectic week to bow before the almighty God and confess your need of God.
If you did, then the sacrifice of so many had some good purpose. If not, what will it take?
If all this caused you to pause and reflect on the wonder of human life…then there is meaning in their deaths.
If this has caused you to hold your children closer…then there is meaning in their deaths
If this has caused you to bow your knee and confess your fear and pain to the Lord, and your dependence on God like never before…then there is meaning in their deaths.
Here is how we must respond.
We must respond as a nation:
We have been invited to a party we did not plan. It is a pity party of senseless misery, blame, hatred and violence and it has been going on for generations. Terrorists have invited the United States to join with them in a violent hatred that stops at nothing to get vengeance. We have been invited to dance with those who repay evil with worse evil.
But we must not join them. For if we do, we have lost and the enemy has won.
We must not give in to the powerful temptation to become the very likeness of the enemy we despise. We must not become blinded by hatred so that we strike out at those who are not our enemies.
As people across our nation scream out for somebody’s blood to run in the streets, we who follow the Prince of Peace, must instead urge our government to respond – not from rage, but out of a sense of justice. We must be assured that after we have responded, we will be better off.
Many will say: How can we do that? Terrorists will see us as weak.
It’s the hard reality. Sometimes justice is not ours. But there will be justice. Nineteen suicide terrorists are receiving justice right now.
Let us go to the weapon that is effective against terrorism: prayer.
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
(and some in missiles and tanks – DWW)
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
We must respond by seeking justice and mercy for victims of injustice no matter what country they are in.
The terror that hit our nation this week is nothing new to our world. But now terror has hit home. Let us make something good of this disaster.
Now that terror has hit home, we can empathize with and stand with the Christians in Sudan who are being driven from their homes and killed –genocide by their own government.
Now that terror has hit home, let us find it in our nation’s best interests to seek and demand the end of hostilities by both Israel and the Palestinians.
We must respond as Individuals:
We have an enemy of our soul. But the enemy cannot be defeated with bombs because our enemy is not sheltered in any country; it knows no boundaries.
Get right with God. When we stand before God, he will separate the sheep from the goats- not Americans from people of Arabic descent. Not good guys from the bad guys. But, those who have opened themselves up to Jesus Christ and those who will not.
You can experience peace, when the world all around is crumbling, because you know the one who loves you and has plans to prosper you.
Let us as individuals reach out in love – sharing the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Repay evil with good. Love your enemies.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
From the message, “When Terror Hits Home,” Rev. Dave Weidlich, September 16, 2001, Cooper Mountain Presbyterian Fellowship, Aloha, Oregon.
Graphic by Keith L. Bell @kbellwether. Used by permission.