The Word on the Week

9/11 + 10

As we come up to the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack which demolished both of the iconic towers, symbols of the flourishing Manhattan society, fear and apprehension are still with us. 2,996 died and tomorrow, the 10 anniversary, will host a memorial service on the site which is now turned into a remembrance theme park. Massive security is in place as it is anticipated that an act of revenge for the killing of Osama Bin Laden – the architect of the attack – will take place. Indeed increased security and surveillance have been the noticeable effect of the attack as anyone who has had to stand in interminable queues at airport security gates while our person and possessions are examined, scanned and, when deemed illegal, confiscated all in the interests of safety. The inauguration of the “war on terror” stems from the attack and is reckoned to have killed 1,000,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan without making the world a safer place. Those standing at the memorial site tomorrow will be keeping a weather eye open for discarded packages and looking over their shoulders to see who is standing behind them. And as they mourn some will wonder how we got into this mess. Can the Bible help us here? Anyone who thinks this world is a safe place is not facing reality. In Bible times life was cheap and inflation has not altered that fact! When the Psalmist penned Psalm 121 he looked for a safe place in nature and had to remind himself that it was only in the Lord that safety is located. The metrical version puts it well: I to the hills will lift mine eyes From whence doth come mine aid? My safety cometh from the Lord Who heaven and earth hath made. Jesus brought out the truth of these words when he said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. For those who believe Him St Paul’s words take on that eternal dimension as he thought of his life since he had been converted to Christ; “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. (Galatians chapter 2 verse 20) This life is fraught with accidents, illnesses and terrorism all of which are largely beyond our control. Faith in Christ places us in an eternal security united to Christ and able to help other fearful fellowtravellers on life’s journey to look to Him who alone can give us that peace (shalom) we are looking for.