© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
We walk so far and so often
in places where we fear for our well being:
narrow, precipitous paths,
open, shelter-less spaces,
rough, rocky, war-zones
where enemies lurk
and fear is ever-present.
We pray to a silent universe,
and often receive no discernible answer.
We function, but just barely.
We survive, but almost not.
We keep moving though almost stalled out.
Then, when we finally reach that point
where there is no return,
and the last maneuver has been made,
and it seems our last race
has been run and is lost,
some little thing moves,
some obstacle is displaced
some small hope is manifest,
and we are able
to move on through to safety.
Yet one more time
God waits until the last second…
September 11, 2001 and What it Has Meant to Us
Preached on September 11, 2011.
Ten years ago today the United States was attacked on its own soil by terrorists, and we have been in shock ever since. Questions were asked: Why Us? How would they dare do this to us? Did we bring this on our selves through bad foreign policies? did God bring this down on our own heads because we are sinful? How fast can we get revenge? But the question I have not heard spoken too much is, how will we find the strength to forgive them? America has been changed profoundly by the September 11 attacks, but not, I believe, for the better.
As a nation, we have grown mean, paranoid, selfish, and accusative, and we have not looked good because of it. Our financial status has grown gradually worse. We have become more war-like, more greedy, less generous sharing the American Dream, and protective of our borders to the point of xenophobia. Economically, the terrorists may have beaten us. And while we may be now living under fear of the other we, are certainly less safe from ourselves that since “The Great Fear” of the 1950s.
Discovering the Truth of our Christian-ness
If we were the Christian nation many in America purport it to be, I believe we would have acted differently. After the attacks of September 11, many of the same Christians who, ten years ago, ran around wearing pins, bracelets, and such asking the truly important question, What Would Jesus Do? demanded revenge and vomited hatred and vitriol against Muslims. Shame on you! What did Jesus do when he was tortured, ridiculed, spit upon, and hung on a cross to die? Well his last dying breath was to forgive those who were doing this to him. America’s Christianity seems pretty sad in this light. Sometimes I believe that I’d be better off as a non-believer because I wouldn’t have to do so much apologizing for my faith.
What Can We Do?
I suggest we start by asking the objects of our fear and meanness to forgive us for the wrongs we have committed by our thoughts and actions against them. I also suggest we ask God to teach us to be the people we brag we are. AND, I suggest we shut our whiny mouths for a moment and listen to those we have injured, and learn from them. It might do our souls some good. We need redemption more than vindication.
Why did the Sea Flee?
The sea fled because God moved it back. God’s people were at risk. They were afraid, and being pursued by their oppressors, and called out for help. God came to their aid. God made a path for them through the sea, and made their escape from Egypt possible. Every once in a while the Hebrews got it right and placed their trust in God, and every time they did God came through for them. As a nation we should this: God will take care of us, we don’t need to live in fear, and we do not need to become oppressors and tyrants and war mongers to be safe. How I understand the work Jesus did on earth was to show us another possibility, an alternative to the violent, psychopathic, YHWH of the early Hebrew Scriptures, and model for us the Deity he knew and loved, and called, Father–Christians are to follow this loving, just, all forgiving God of which Jesus teaches.