Pastor’s Corner for September 2011

I have really been thinking about what to write for this article and it suddenly hit me. This month will be the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Many people are telling us that ten years ago our lives as Americans were irrevocably changed. News accounts, reports and blogs constantly speak about the heightened security concerns around our country and I have heard numerous pundits talk about how we are raising a generation that will experience fear as Americans have never experienced it before.

However, as a person who knows a bit about history, I believe similar things were said during the 1940s about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and in the 1950s there was the “Red Scare” that swept across the USA. In the early 1960s, I have talked with many people who have told me how their lives were drastically changed after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the 1970s, I personally remember the Iranian hostage crisis that had many wondering whether there would be a global war because of these tragic events. Even in the 1980s, I remember when President Ronald Reagan was shot and the fear that spread through many of us in that moment. It was also during this time that the AIDS epidemic began to sweep across the country.

Why do I mention these tragic past events when many will be remembering the lives lost on September 11, 2001? Simply because it is the nature of human beings to be fearful. We are afraid of tragedy and loss and we are afraid of the “other.” After 9/11, I remember people who were believed to be of Arabic descent being beaten and hurt just because of their racial identity. I also remember similar stories from the 1970s after the Iranian hostage crisis. We, as human beings, have at our heart the desire to scapegoat others and place all of our fears upon them. In responding negatively to them, we engage in “sacred” violence by pouring out these fears on the stranger.

I would ask that during this month of remembrance all of you would do as Jesus would have us do. Welcome the stranger, love and pray for your enemies, be good to those who would spitefully use you and share God’s mercy with all that you meet. Do not look for someone else to blame for the ills in the world because, as my teachers told me in Junior High, when you point one finger at someone else you are pointing three back at yourself.

Let us remember these great words from the prophet Isaiah during this time, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4) Our peace and hope is found in God and through God’s Spirit we are able to overcome our desire to blame someone else. Let us walk the path of peace for the honor and glory of our Savior Jesus Christ.

God’s Best Always and in All Ways,
Pastor Derek

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