This Sunday, September 8th, has been designated as the worship service at which Lutheran churches throughout the country commemorate the terrorist attacks of last September 11th.  While some might want to simply let the day pass without notice because it's too painful to recall; others may actually want to exploit it for personal or organizational benefit.  Some want to turn it into an occasion for political rallies and flag-waving; others want to use it for racist condemnations.  Some even seem to want to use it to justify war.   As Christians, our response needs to be different, distinct from these responses.

In a recent e-mail communication to churches, The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, wrote:

September 11 is a day for prayer, a day of memory and hope, a day to rededicate our lives to working for peace and justice.  We remember those who died and those who continue to mourn their deaths.  We also remember those who have died since September 11 from the escalating violence in the world…  Yet, we do not lose hope; for our hope is in God who continues to create life, reconcile and set us free for a life of witness and service.  Let our working for peace be witness to God's work in and for the sake of the world.

With a year to reflect on those events, it seems evident that our world is no longer the same.  Yet, on further reflection, we see that the world is pretty much the same as it has been, even in Jesus' day: deeply fractured by death and the power of sin, powerfully torn by injustice and misery.  We probably knew this on some level, but it was thought by many to be safely distanced from our lives.

Now there is no mistaking the fact that these problems are here.  But rather than becoming discouraged or fearful, our faith moves us to action and new awareness of the problems around us.  Pray that our church would be a faithful witness in the world to the only real peace that we can know: the love of God, revealed to us in the person and presence of Jesus Christ in our lives and in the world.

Blessings and peace,

Rev. Larry Becker