Peace be with you, my sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!
Twelve years and one day ago the world was smaller. We did not have Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, besides blogs. We had television and radio. Cell phones, not smart phones, were growing in popularity. I remember getting my first Nokia six months earlier, though I barely carried it, unless my step-dad put it in my purse.
The next day started like any other day. I woke up to “From a Distance” by Bette Midler – the world was at peace. I ran through my to do list as I got ready for school – fall poem, history essay, grab clean gym clothes, and college application essay. I took the bus to school, grabbed my books out of my locker, and went to class. I was a senior in high school and had creative writing first period. I started working on my fall poem before the first ball.
Everything else about the day fell out of routine; the day has become a blur to me, besides drifting from one classroom to another classroom between bells. By the end of the day, I had seen the horrid images a hundred times, despite the principal’s request for teachers to not show the news on their televisions. I got home before my brother who was a sixth grader and my mom who cleaned the church. We rushed to eat dinner to attend the impromptu church service where we assembled quietly hoping to see God’s light.
The world grew bigger that day; we learned about al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Talk about war in Afghanistan and Iraq was on our minds by the weekend.
In the last twelve years, we have feared Muslins because of al-Qaeda Terrorists who in the name of Prophet Muhammed planned the attacked. We forget that only a small group of Muslins planned the horrid events. Rebecca Kolowe, an ELCA diaconal minister, was serving as an ELCA missionary in Cameroon and experienced September 11, 2001 differently than most of us. Read her account on David Hansen’s blog. She recalls individuals who were Muslin coming up to her and saying they were sorry and they had no part in planning the attack. Some of them even said Prophet Muhammed would never condone the horrid acts on Americans. I wonder if individuals who are American Muslins came forward in the days after 9/11 and made the same statements publicly, if we as Americans would view them differently. Of course, we would have had to been open to hearing those statement. The world may have looked differently today.
I have grown up in the last twelve years. I graduated from Mukwonago High in the top ten percent, UW-Whitewater with a BA from the Business College in Marketing, and Luther Seminary with a MA in New Testament. I have been married and divorced. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts where I keep in touch with friends and family around the world, and my iPhone and iPad Mini have permanent homes in my pockets on my electric wheelchair. The American arm forces have caught Osama bin Liden and other key al-Qaeda figurers, though the war in Iraq is still going on and now we face war in Syria.
As most Americans, the anniversary of 9/11 always causes me to pause and reflect. Every September 11th I am still a senior in high school watching the news for the millionth time as if it will change. The world continues to get bigger with each passing year as new evils rise up in the darkness.
As Christians, we are called to shine God’s light into the world of darkness. Some days his light seems difficult, even impossible, to see. However, God’s light continues to shine brightly the world for us to see and share (Psalm 27:1 and Luke 2:32).
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for being the light of the world. Help us to listen to those individuals who are different than us and find peaceful ways be loving neighbors. Lead us to share your light, peace, grace, and love in the world of darkness. Guide us to walk humbly as Christ has taught us. Thank you for your light to protect us in the darkness. Amen.