Today is the tenth anniversary of the date that Muslim terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon and attempted to fly another airplane into another target (probably in Washington DC).
The events of that day (and the events that occurred as a result of those events) have changed the United States of America and much of the world. For Americans, we learned that we are not immune to radical religious hatred.
That day, I was working in the Atlanta area. Like most people, I didn’t think much about the report that an airplane had flown into one of the skyscrapers that made up the World Trade Center complex. But, when the media began to report about the second plane flying into the second tower, everyone knew that this was a planned attack.
That realization brought with it a flood of emotions: fear, concern, compassion, hatred, sadness. You name it, and I felt it in those first few minutes. I prayed. Within a few moments, a peace and calmness overcame me.
I had been meeting with other Christians who worked in our building for several months. I sent out an email to request that we pray together at lunch. I was not surprised when many, many more people than normal met in the common conference room to pray. However, I was surprised that many who did not claim to be Christians joined us, even a few who were Hindu.
While several people shared about what they were thinking and feeling, I decided to read from Matthew 24, focusing on Matthew 24:6-8:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. (Matthew 24:6-8 ESV)
I encouraged them to remember that wars, rumors of wars, even natural disasters were not to cause anxiety and concern for God’s children. Instead, we have a mission that does not depend on national defense, economic situations, or personal security. Jesus referred to this mission in the passage in Matthew 24: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations…” (Matthew 24:14a ESV)
This is not the good news of the United States of America. Instead, it is the good news of the kingdom of God. Our citizenship is in God’s kingdom; we simply live within the United States of America.
As we prayed, I asked God to give us his peace whatever happened in the coming days, and I asked for him to keep us focused on the good news of the kingdom of God.
Later, after lunch when we had all returned to our jobs, one of my coworkers came into my cubicle and sat down. I knew that he was born in India and that he was a Hindu. We had had several very good conversations about our beliefs. I actually learned alot about Hinduism from him.
We talked about a project at work for a while, then, just as he was about to leave, he turned back to me and said, “I am so scared. My family is scared. I do not know what we should do. But, you do not seem scared at all. Why do you have so much peace?”