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
Blessings and peace,
Rev. Larry Becker