Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - Five Years On

[Jesus said,] "Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. "You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." Matthew 5.38-47 from THE MESSAGE

My American Flag waves outside my front door today. It reminds me of what is best about us. It's far too easy to remind us about the worst.

There are moments when my "lover's quarrel" with my government must stand down. Today is one such day.

And while I know there will be efforts to make political hay today by those whose agendas are less than noble, I will not abide.

Today is about something more.

On this day of solemn remembrance, as we recall extraordinary heroism and courage, let us not become what any ememy seeks to make us. Rather, let us be more than the instinctive response that revenge seeks to continually prod.

I don't need video replay of the day. My inner clock knows what today is, and that sick feeling in my stomach has returned. It is the reminder of injury to the soul of the place I call home. But what am I to do with that?

Could it be that the "path to victory," whatever that means, truly only lies in prayers to be offered for those who would do us harm? Is that not what Jesus is saying?

I'm not sure I like it, but those of us who claim Jesus as Lord can't ignore it either.

Or, maybe that's the problem, we continue to ignore it for the sake of holding on to our rage.

One last thought. I can't think of today without thinking now of those whose honor and duty have them serving and dying on a land far away and I keep looking at that picture of the World Trade Center burning and wondering to myself if our sons and daughters' sacrifice today has anything to do with that picture.

And I know the answer.

I think we all do, now, and probably always did.

And somehow, we can't get out of the mess without making it worse.

Is that the definition of tragedy?

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