Summary: A Biblical reflection on the events in New York on 11th September 2001
He had seen the dawn of many Tuesday mornings, but this one was different, this one was special because it was going to culminate everything he had lived for.
He slept little of the Monday night, rose several hours before sunrise, and met his accomplices before they set of on a mission that would bring about untold destruction.
Theirs was a cause they believed fervently, were given to completely, and followed passionately
-- And on this day they were going to give their lives so that tens of thousands of people could die in the name of their cause
In his 33 years he had seen over 1500 Fridays’ come and go à but this was the Friday.
It was the day he had waited for, taught about, prayed about, and prepared for
It brought him to his lifelong goal
It filled him with a sense of purpose
It created a sense of gritty determination
He had spent Thursday night under lock and key
-- already bruised from a savage beating at the hands of some soldiers who used his vulnerability just to relieve their boredom and let out their pent up frustrations
But his was a cause ….
That was born in the mind of his father and fueled by his love
This Friday had been planned before time began
This event was going to change history
This act was going to affect people’s eternity
And on this day he would give his life so that billions of people could live in the name of his cause
You’ve probably worked out who these two very different men are by now
The first is one of the people responsible for the atrocity that happened in New York last week
We don’t know much about him. But we do know that he believed in his cause so passionately he was prepared to give his life for it
And the tragedy of it is that his life was devoted to the wrong cause
The second man is Jesus
-- and he is so different
He was filled with love – not hate
His mission was to bring life – not death
He came to bring reconciliation – not war
Two men – who represent two very different ways.
-- but, you know, as we respond to the terrible events of the last week we have got to be so careful that we don’t get drawn into the kind of thinking that drove that first man.
That we don’t get full of bitterness, anger, and rage – baying for the blood of anyone who might be remotely connected with this atrocity.
The Bible says that we are ‘ambassadors for Christ’
-- and that means that we’ve got to respond to this appalling event in the spirit of the man who laid down his life for the right cause
So, this morning, we’re going to stand back from the initial impact of all we have seen, heard and read about. See what light the Word of God can throw on it. And respond in a way that pleases the one who gave His life for us.
How should we, as Jesus’ followers, respond to these events?
1. We must face up to the issue of suffering
One of the questions that would have been aired many times in the last week will have been ‘why is this happening?’
It’s natural to ask this, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with it
-- but it’s often asked because suffering is seen as something that doesn’t have anything to do with us
à it’s an enemy that has breached our defenses – it belongs somewhere else – not here
The truth of the matter is that we have a human tendency to cocoon ourselves from the massive amount of suffering that goes on out there and pretend that it doesn’t exist
The Bible has never invited us to keep up that kind of pretence
When sin first came into the world God said
….. "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." (NIV)
This theme carries on throughout the OT
9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. 10 The length of our days is seventy years -- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.