Reflections on 9/11 – 9 years on

9 September 2001 – the day the world changed….. or did it?

There is no doubt that the events of that day cast a shadow over the global community. Relationships between nations are often defined in the light of the perceived forces at work in the events of that day. For me personally there is a particular poignancy in the memory. I had just returned from a Scripture Union International Conference with representatives from all over the world. Worshipping with people from many nations was a reminder that God’s family is global and multi-cultural – not English or British not even Western.

So I watched the events unfold that afternoon (morning in the US) with a different perspoective – there were people staying with me who were a reminder of a previous cold war era – guests from the former Soviet Union and I knew people travelling back to North America. It was hard to believe what we were watching – it almost seemed like a movie rether than real life. It was strangely gripping but it was also horrifying – we watched people die.

Maybe on reflection the media dimension was one of the changes I was unaware of and yet seems really obvious now. In a ‘Big Brother’ world, the global events were watched on TV by millions. The global community was connected in a way that we hadn’t really understood. The place of the media in both reflecting and shaping us was illustrated in a unique way on that day.

In recent events that day has been in the headlines because some people simply want to interpret them in ways that divide people along simple religious lines – I can’t agree in such a simplistic analysis. I wasn’t personally affected directly by the events so don’t want to speak for those who were. However I do know that God calls those of us who are Christians to live lives that demonstrate his character – to shine as his lights in the dark world. I am sure that means caring for all of of humanity regardless of their background, nationality, social status or creed. I simply can’t label thoe who disagree with me as evil – whatever they do.

So how should I respond? When asked by the teacher of the law, What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus refers him to the law itself and the teacher replies. The first commandement is this: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength. the second is like it ‘Love your neighbour as yourself”

That seems like a good place to start – I’ll let you know when I think I’ve managed that one – although it seems like it could take a lifetime! Maybe the world didn’t change – I just saw it differently and began to realise that most change has to begin in me.


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