On a beautiful September morning much like today, the world changed for all Americans. It’s hard to believe it has been 11 years today that the terrorists attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were carried out to our horror. It’s almost beyond belief that another plane might have made it to the White House or to Capital Hill had it not been for the bravery of the passengers who tried to retake control of the aircraft that eventually crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. So many lives were lost that day. What’s more, that day’s attacks set in motion a chain of reactions that have created an ocean of bloodshed since then. War continues and lives are still being lost.
What is most disturbing to me about these tragedies is that these acts of terror, though political in reality, were done in the name of God.
As we pause today with flags at half-staff, I pray in the name of God for a healing of our nation and for the blessing of all those whose lives were lost as a result of these attacks. No doubt, I pray in the name of a different God than did those whose hatred and disillusionment was so strong and whose theology is so different from what I believe.
When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “To love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. And the second is like it, to love your neighbor as yourself.” Then Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” His answer was a parable. It was the parable of the good Samaritan. It was about a Jewish man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead. Several of this man’s own people came by and ignored his situation. They offered no help. Later, an Arab (Palestinian, Samaritan) man came by and had compassion on this Jewish fellow. He bound up the man’s wounds, took him to an inn and promised to pay his bill on his next trip that way. Who, Jesus asked, was a neighbor to this wounded man? The answer is not difficult. It was of course, the one who showed compassion for him.
As simple as that sounds, it remains the way beyond 9/11. Let us this day resolve that we will remember on this day and always, to show compassion to all we meet and even to those we will never meet.