(remember that 2004 and 2008 were leap years)
I realize that the world does not need another 9/11 blog post. But here goes.
It was a Tuesday morning. As I was getting ready for the day I happened to flick past a news channel as it was covering the fire after the first plane had hit. I started watching just in time o see the second plane hit. Then I knew it was not accidental. Over the next hour I watched while having breakfast and so on. I headed over to the church shortly after teh first tower fell.
Like most of the Western World I spent most of the rest of the day listening to the radio or watching TV. Noot that it was a healthy thing to do though. The saturation point was reached by noon EDT after all. My memories include people coming by the church to talk, and the comment "he'll [President Bush] go to war now". I remember another person coming to the realization that they were commercial jets used whle sitting in the office.
LAter that afternoon (or maybe the next morning) I called the church musician and we totally redid the hymn selections as we realized we needed to plan not the upbeat servic I had thought but rather something more akin to a memorial. There would be a time for analysis and prophetic words, but not that week.
What happened over the next years is a matter of history.
But where are we now? Are we better off? NO Safer? Not likely Closer to the PEaceable Kingdom of our faith? If so the signs are few and far between.
Wiser people than I have mused openly over the last decade how a window that opened that day was closed quickly. How the US Government parlayed worldwide attention and sympathy into almost pariah status within a few short years. How instead of seeking justice it sought vengeance.
But as a person of faith I think it gets simpler. Instead of looking for another way the West fell victim to base animalistic human intstincts. the desire to strike back, to inflict pain, to get payback. But as people of faith we are called to another path. We are called to seek justice through forgiveness, peace through justice, and part of that is finding the way to forgiveness.
The desire for vengeance that has led us here does damage to all parties. Arguably it has damaged the US more than anyone else. There is wisdom is the old warning that we have to avoid becoming that which we hate. I think the US has used the events of 10 years ago as an excuse for many things (I am sure a reason to invade Iraq at least and possibly Afghanistan as well would have been created either way) but many of those things have harmed not only their reputation (which wasn't as clear as some would like to claim anyway) but also the soul of the country. This morning I preached about forgiveness and on the way out one person described the quest for revenge as holding a red hot iron for years in the hope that you might have a chance to jab it at someone else for a few seconds. Who gets burnt more?
SO where do we go from here? How do we get back to the path of forgiveness justice and peace?
I don't know. Other than it will require transformative change in our understandings of interpersonal and international relations. But as a person of faith I believe that such transformative change is possible. AS the old hymn says (one I used to bookend the sermon this morning):
We shall overcome
we shall overcome
we shall over come some day
deep in my heart, I do believe
we shall overcome some day