Monday

9/11 Finding Love on September 11

Just as with countless others, I find this to be a difficult day. My own life and my family’s were profoundly affected on September 11. Those events brought into sharp focus the realisation of what we should always hold dearest and most precious.

As the spectre of death was imminent, many people who had access to phones telephoned their spouses, parents, children, friends and family members to say not goodbye, but ‘I love you.’

During those brief seconds, all those lives focused on what really matters; love. Positions, job titles, possessions- they were now insignificant. In just a few fleeting seconds, the true essence of living, of life, of all our existence, was stripped to its rawest form.

The women and men; the clerks, directors, flight attendants, managers, cleaners, cooks, waiters, pilots, waitresses, firemen, medics, any one of them, whether at the World Trade Centre, Pentagon or aboard the four doomed aircraft, any one of them would have traded everything they had for life. Everything!

When death was falling upon Jesus, He looked down from the cross and saw His mother and his dear friend, the disciple John. ‘Woman, here is your son,’ He said. And to John, ‘Here is your mother.’
(John 19:26-27). These are the words echoed by those who phoned their loved ones: ‘I love you, take care of each other, be a family.’ They are also the words of the Church: love, compassion, and forgiveness.

People hunger for this message. We want to know what is important in life, what it takes to make a difference; is my faith enough, and what about the things I have done wrong, will I find forgiveness? The Christian message speaks of the worth of every individual, of forgiveness and of life not overcome by death.

Jesus is constantly transforming us, moving us to the centre of our being, where His image is most beautiful and precious. It is from this spiritual centre, that God is sending us to the outer limits of our capacity to love.

The World Trade Centre stood as a beacon to people all over the world. It reflected both the rising and setting of the sun and countless memories of happier times, whether it was falling in love at Windows on the World, or a child’s holiday trip to one of the world’s tallest buildings.

In the aftermath of its collapse, it reflected anxiety, fear and sadness. But it also reflected the heroic efforts that continue to reveal the absolute goodness of God inherent in every individual.

One of the most important roles of our Christian lives is to see within the fractured existence of humanity, the image of God waiting to be released. It is to see within division and animosity the seeds of reconciliation.

My greatest prayer during these uncertain times is that we maintain a spirit of reconciliation, a posture of openness and a respect towards one another.

Whether it is America, Britain, or any country where the freedom of democracy reigns, we must be nations where people who hold different opinions can express our thoughts and feelings without fear of ridicule, or rejection.

None of us possesses absolute truth, however, all of us need to listen and speak across passionately held beliefs. This is not a call to agreement, but to respectful listening. In the past we have not done this very well.

In a world beset by religious and ethnic strife, the Christian must take the risk of following Christ into the heart of saint and sinner alike, of friend and stranger, of the beloved and the enemy.

In his first letter, John reminds us, ‘Whoever says, I am in the light; while hating a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light.’
(John 2:9-10)

Together, we must live into this teaching, or together we shall shrink into the dark shadows of further racial, religious and ethnic divisions.

We pray for the souls lost in this tragedy. We pray for those who bear the responsibility of governmental power, that they use that power wisely. We pray for all who have suffered because of aggression.

We pray for all those whose lives have been affected by conflict and aggression.

And we pray Lord, that You guide each of us to find peace.

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Loving and life giving Lord, we pray for all those who lost their lives on the morning of September 11. We pray that Your love touches the families and all who suffered as a result of this tragic event. We pray too, Lord, for those who sought to use evil to impose their own misguided values. We pray that all who seek to commit crimes of violence and aggression are intervened by Your love and tenderness towards all Your children, that they may use their lives for goodness instead. Amen

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