Morning by Morning

"The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward." Isaiah 50:4-5

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remembering 9/11

The media is filled these days with special reports on the working out of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  We all were taken by surprise, but for some it was more of a surprise than for others.

Those of us who are familiar with the Middle East and the political and religious problems of that area, while shocked by the attack, also understood that it was an extension of what we already knew about the nature of terrorism.  In the mid-1980s we crossed from Jordan into Israel on the Allenby Bridge with the sound of bullets ricocheting of the rocks.  It took us six hours to get through the security check because a few days before a tourist’s hand was blown off by a bomb that had been planted in his luggage.  Ever since then we have realized that there is a reason for the security now in place.   It is too bad that it took 9/11 to make us all aware.

How do we understand the harsh events of current terrorism with our Christian faith?  Dame Julian of Norwich sets the evil deeds and harms of her time, and ours, in the context of a surprising confession of faith, saying “All is well, all is well, all manner of things shall be well.

“There are evil deeds done in our sight, and we experience such great harms, 
            that it seems impossible to us that ever things should come to a good end.
  We look upon this then with sorrow and mourning 
            and the result is that we cannot resign and rest 
            in the blissful beholding of God as we should do. 
  And the cause for this is that the use of our reason is now so blind,
            so low, and so stupid, that we cannot know that high marvelous Wisdom,
            the Might and the Goodness of the blissful Trinity.

She goes on to day that there is a Deed which the blessed Trinity will do in the Last day which will balance the books.  There is a time of judgment yet to come and she says, “Take heed now in faith and trust, and at the last end thou shalt truly see God’s power manifested in fullness of joy.  This is what He means when He says: THOU SHALT SEE FOR THYSELF that all manner of things shall be well.

The other part of the answer is perhaps an uncomfortable one.  Where was God on 9/11.  The answer is that He was where he is in every human tragedy, on the Cross, bearing the sins and pains of us all, and crying out “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).