Today is the 9th anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda on the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Ask anyone where they were or what they were doing when news of the airliners hitting the towers reached them, and to a person they will be able to tell you. It is etched, in North American history at least, as one of the darkest days ever. The event set into motion a war on terror that continues today, 9 years later. Firefighters, police personnel, and rescue workers were lauded heroes that day and in the days that followed, teams of volunteers rallied to help at and around Ground Zero.
Below is an excerpt from Sara Cunningham's book Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life's Weeds.
The day that halted my generation’s leisurely flight [through our world], I reported to work as usual as the tragedy up the coastline hit the news.
“Did you hear that a plane just hit the World Trade Center Tower in New York?” the church receptionist asked me as I passed her desk on the way back to my office.
That’s weird, I remember thinking. Why is the church receptionist suddenly playing anchor woman? She’s never passed on a headline before.
But this was not enough to jar my oblivion. The news was still calling the crash an accident and thus, my reaction was somewhat shrugging disregard, mustering only momentary empathy for the family of whatever pilot had manned what I expected was a twin-engine plane crash.
This, I’m afraid, is the way I hear—or rather don’t hear—the daily news. I consider whatever trauma or tragedy is reported for just a minute before letting my music or my shopping list sweep it away.
It wasn’t until the plane was identified as an airliner that my heart joined my head in the listening. And it wasn’t until a second plane crashed and the FAA grounded all planes that I began to realize how my generation’s concept of our world was crashing as well. ~Excerpt from Part IV of Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life’s Weeds
That was then. Today, three events collide. The anniversary of 9/11 as I have already mentioned, but also the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, which is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility and spirituality. The third event is the now canceled Quran burning which was to take place in Gainesville Florida under the leadership of Rev. Terry Jones.
As a devoted follower of Christ, I am personally offended that someone who claims to follow my Jesus would so publicly promote hate and vengeance in such obvious contradiction to the teachings of Christ. As a member of the clergy I am embarrassed that anyone would ordain this moron in the first place. Who gave this guy a platform? And what was he thinking when he came up with this brilliant idea? Besides all of the obvious security implications, there is the fact that his actions are directly opposed to anything Jesus promoted.
Ironic that, while Muslims around the world have been fasting for the last month in an attempt to learn patience, humility and spirituality, that a so-called Christian leader would plan to have a huge bonfire with their sacred book as fuel. Ironic and not just a little troubling and sad, in light of the fact that Christ-followers should be the ones who are promoting love, tolerance, forgiveness and understanding. And instead, this guy goes online and on TV promoting hatred and inciting anger throughout the worldwide Muslim community.
Rev. Terry Jones in no way represents Jesus Christ and the Christian community, any more than the terrorists who flew those airliners into the World Trade Centre towers nine years ago represent all Muslims.
Please don't tar and feather me and those who believe in Jesus and follow Him as I do with Terry Jones' brush.
I am not promoting the Muslim religion nor do I agree with it. But what I am promoting is tolerance and love and understanding...Jesus' way.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
In the spirit of Jesus, I am praying today. Praying for the victims of 9/11 who are experiencing painful memories. Praying for Muslims who have been maligned and mistreated because they happen to belong to the same religion as a group of fanatical terrorists with a diabolical agenda, that they would be able to see past human fallibility find truth in Jesus. And yes...even praying for Rev. Terry Jones, because we all make mistakes and we all can be forgiven. And what kind of Christ-follower would I be if I didn't forgive and show a little understanding, even for him?