As we approach the 10th anniversary of the modern day “Pearl Harbor” in the American memory we can all remember where we were when we heard the news about the twin towers at the World Trade Center in NY. I was at home getting ready to go to church in Baltimore and the report appeared on Good Morning America. My first thought was to go tell someone. I looked out my front door and called out to my neighbor across the street, who was watering his plants. For the next few hours we sat spellbound, watching the nightmare unfold on TV, and many tears were shed. That evening there was a prayer service at the church and we all wondered what would happen next.
Ten years later much has happened. The innocence of air travel has ended. Many lives have been lost in wars. Many tears have been shed. Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent are sometimes profiled and feared. The poor have become poorer. Terrorism has increased around the world and there is no telling where it will all end.
If we are people of faith we are Easter people. We are people that work for life in the midst of death; people who seek hope in a deadly cross; people who personally find ways of waging peace in this world. The world needs the saving love of Jesus more than ever and no one will know it unless we spread the word. Just as I urgently told my neighbor about the airplane that struck the World Trade Center on that fateful Tuesday morning 10 years ago, we need to, just as urgently, tell people that God loves them and that in Christ there is peace with God and with all people.
Telling people is just one part of it. We need to live in peaceful ways in this world. Peace making only comes when there is justice for all people. We all want peace and tranquility but it only comes when the hard work of dismantling oppressive power blocks that keep the powerful in power and the weak under their thumb. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer. In 1961 a group of young people, mostly white college students, came from the north to work for civil rights in Mississippi. They lent their political power to those without voices, helping African Americans get voter registration cards, helping people learn to read, and speaking out in political rallies. Much good was accomplished but many of them were killed doing this work of peacemaking. Any time power is challenged the pushback is quick and fierce. But oppression is never the last word. Jesus rose from the grave and that ends the oppression of death in this world.
Wherever you have power, can you lend it to someone without power? Wherever there is inequity in this world, can you speak out? Is this not the work of Christians in the post 9/11 world?