It’s been fifteen years now since a single date became etched in the collective memory of our nation. There are few people in this country who don’t know exactly what 9-11 means when they hear it. It was a day which continues to impact not only the lives of families who lost loved ones that day, the lives and families of those who have defended this country in the aftermath, but the effect also trickles down worldwide in economic impact, political decision making, and religious thought.
While the tragedy of that day continues to impact us in many ways, there was one effect that was too quickly forgotten. At least for a little while, we treated each other differently in this country because we felt a sense of unity against a common enemy. Today however, we seem more divided politically and racially before. There are too many neighbors who are seen as enemies.
We shouldn’t need a tragedy to unite us. Our Pledge of Allegiance” says we are committed to be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. The center piece of the statement that has the potential to hold us together is “under God.” As Christians, the revelation of God we have in Jesus Christ calls us to self-denial and servanthood as the highest virtues, to a world where there is no “Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female” but all are one in Christ, to be people who “go the second mile, turn the other cheek, pray for those who persecute us, and love even our enemies”, where “the last shall be first”, and where we are judged on the basis of what we did for the “least of these.” Jesus gave us a vision of the Kingdom ruled by love and its citizens saved by grace.
While Jesus’s prophetic word that “the thief (Satan) comes only to kill, steal, and destroy” is daily evident in our world, it is up to us who live under the authority/Lordship of Christ to manifest the second part of his statement, “but I have come they you may have life and have in abundance.” We the Church are called to be witnesses to what is possible in “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”