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Bringing Great Good from the Evil of 9/11

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A reading from today’s Forward Day by Day helps us to cope with the resonating horrors of that monstrous day. We are living in a world where we are more and more inextricably interconnected. Where I am living, I often hear people talk about how “Moslems are killing Christians all over the world!” and my heart breaks, thinking of the wonderful friends I have lived among is so many Moslem countries, their kindness, their hospitality, our long pleasant conversations. I learned so much.

I am glad we believe in a God who knows our hearts. I am thankful for grace, and forgiveness. When we talk about killing, we also need to take account for all the civilians we have killed, trying to bring about peace, trying to eradicate Al Qaeda, Al Shebaab, those who would harm us.

God asks us to love one another. He doesn’t say “Christians, you love just the Christians.” He shows us how to love the Samaritans, the lame, the blind, the mentally ill, the “other”. He tells us, clearly, to love our enemies. The Gospel that speaks the loudest is the gospel of our lives lived to honor him.

THURSDAY, September 11

Acts 15:8-9 [Peter said], “And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them…and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us.”

Thirteen years ago, this day became one of those days that divide time into what life was like before, and after; one of those days when you will remember, always, where you were, what you were doing—this time when you heard the news that airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center and thousands of people had died.
Job asks, “Does not calamity befall the unrighteous?” (31:3), but we learned, vividly, on September 11, 2001, that the righteous and the innocent suffer too.

Psalm 59:6 exhorts God to “show no mercy to those who are faithless and evil.” The terrorists who flew the planes on 9/11 forced us to confront the power of evil and challenged us to find a way to respond with forgiveness. Perhaps we can learn something about that in Peter’s response to the heated discussions about Jews and Gentiles, about who could be saved, and how: “God, who knows the human heart…has made no distinction between them and us” (Acts 15:8-9).

Then, as now, there were good people and evildoers on all sides, religions, and races. Now, as then, judgment and salvation comes only through the mercy and grace of God.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Charity, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Cross Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Faith, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Lectionary Readings, Pensacola, Political Issues, Quality of Life Issues, Spiritual | | Leave a comment

Gospel for 9/11

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Are we who we say we are?

Do we follow the spirit of The Word? Do we as believers pick and choose from our holy book(s) or do we humble ourselves, as Christ did, and do as he commands?

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded a very difficult life style. I have met holy people among all religions; I am forced to believe that “the way and the truth and the light” are behavioral, and that there will be many surprises when we get to the last days.

September 11th is a difficult day. This is a difficult Gospel reading for a difficult day:

Matthew 5: 38 – 47

Eye for Eye

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’h 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbori and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

September 11, 2013 Posted by | Character, Charity, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Faith, Interconnected, Political Issues, Spiritual, Values | | 2 Comments

Lectionary Readings for Today – Forgiveness

Hatred is its own punishment. We are called upon to forgive, and to live lives of goodness and mercy.

Ecclesiaticus, or Sirach 27: 30 – 28: 7 (Roman Catholic)

27:30 (NRSV) Anger and wrath, these also are abominations,
yet a sinner holds on to them.
28:1 The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance,
for he keeps a strict account of their sins.
2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done,
and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.
3 Does anyone harbor anger against another,
and expect healing from the Lord?
4 If one has no mercy toward another like himself,
can he then seek pardon for his own sins?
5 If a mere mortal harbors wrath,
who will make an atoning sacrifice for his sins?
6 Remember the end of your life, and set enmity aside;
remember corruption and death, and be true to the commandments.
7 Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor;
remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.

Genesis 50: 15 – 21 (alt. for RCL)

Gene 50:15 (NRSV) Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” 16 So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17 “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21 So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 14: 1 – 12 (RCL)
Romans 14: 7 – 9 (Roman Catholic)

Roma 14:1 (NRSV) Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

GOSPEL: Matthew 18: 21 – 35 (all)

Matt 18:21 (NRSV) Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

September 11, 2011 Posted by | Spiritual | | Leave a comment

Building 7 Collapse Solved, No Mystery

AOL News reporting from AP:

Feds Say They’ve Solved 9/11 Mystery
By DEVLIN BARRETT, AP

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (Aug. 21) – Federal investigators said Thursday they have solved a mystery of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: the collapse of World Trade Center building 7, a source of long-running conspiracy theories.

The 47-story trapezoid-shaped building sat north of the World Trade Center towers, across Vesey Street in lower Manhattan. On Sept. 11, it was set on fire by falling debris from the burning towers, but skeptics have long argued that fire and debris alone should not have brought down such a big steel-and-concrete structure.

Federal investigators said Thursday they have resolved a lingering question from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: What caused World Trade Center 7 to collapse? They determined the building, which sat north of the World Trade Center towers, was brought down by fire started by debris from the twin towers.

Scientists with the National Institute of Standards and Technology say their three-year investigation of the collapse determined the demise of WTC 7 was actually the first time in the world a fire caused the total failure of a skyscraper.

“The reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery,” said Dr. Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator on the NIST team.

Investigators also concluded that the collapse of the nearby towers broke the city water main, leaving the sprinkler system in the bottom half of the building without water.

The building has been the subject of a wide range of conspiracy theories for the last seven years, partly because the collapse occurred about seven hours after the twin towers came down. That fueled suspicion that someone intentionally blew up the building in a controlled demolition.

Critics like Mike Berger of the group 9/11 Truth said he wasn’t buying the government’s explanation.
“Their explanation simply isn’t sufficient. We’re being lied to,” he said, arguing that there is other evidence suggesting explosives were used on the building.

Sunder said his team investigated the possibility that an explosion inside the building brought it down, but found there was no large boom or other noise that would have occurred with such a detonation. Investigators also created a giant computer model of the collapse, based partly on news footage from CBS News, that they say shows internal column failure brought down the building.
Investigators also ruled out the possibility that the collapse was caused by fires from a substantial amount of diesel fuel that was stored in the building, most of it for generators for the city’s emergency operations command center.

The 77-page report concluded that the fatal blow to the building came when the 13th floor collapsed, weakening a critical steel support column that led to catastrophic failure.

“When this critical column buckled due to lack of floor supports, it was the first domino in the chain,” said Sunder.

The NIST investigators issued more than a dozen building recommendations as a result of their inquiry, most of which repeat earlier recommendations from their investigation into the collapse of the two large towers.

In both instances, investigators concluded that extreme heat caused some steel beams to lose strength, causing further failures throughout the buildings until the entire structure succumbed.
The recommendations include building skyscrapers with stronger connections and framing systems to resist the effects of thermal expansion, and structural systems designed to prevent damage to one part of a building from spreading to other parts.

A spokeswoman for the leaseholder of the World Trade Center, developer Larry Silverstein, praised the government’s work.

“Hopefully this thorough report puts to rest the various 9/11 conspiracy theories, which dishonor the men and women who lost their lives on that terrible day,” said Silverstein spokeswoman Dara McQuillen.

In discussing the findings, the investigator Sunder acknowledged that some may still not be convinced, but insisted the science behind their findings is “incredibly conclusive.”

“The public should really recognize the science is really behind what we have said,” he said, adding: “The obvious stares you in the face.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Crime, Interconnected, Leadership, Local Lore, News, Political Issues | , | 2 Comments