Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Cross and 9/11

One of my favorite preachers, Methodist Bishop Will Willimon offers sobering reflection on his reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001:
On 9/11 I thought, For the most powerful, militarized nation in the world also to think of itself as an innocent victim is deadly. It was a rare prophetic moment for me, considering Presidents Bush and Obama have spent billions asking the military to rectify the crime of a small band of lawless individuals, destroying a couple of nations who had little to do with it, in the costliest, longest series of wars in the history of the United States. 
The silence of most Christians and the giddy enthusiasm of a few, as well as the ubiquity of flags and patriotic extravaganzas in allegedly evangelical churches, says to me that American Christians may look back upon our response to 9/11 as our greatest Christological defeat. It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid. All of us preachers share the shame; when our people felt very vulnerable, they reached for the flag, not the Cross. 
September 11 has changed me. I'm going to preach as never before about Christ crucified as the answer to the question of what's wrong with the world. I have also resolved to relentlessly reiterate from the pulpit that the worst day in history was not a Tuesday in New York, but a Friday in Jerusalem when a consortium of clergy and politicians colluded to run the world on our own terms by crucifying God's own Son. (From Christianity Today via Scot McKnight)
My hope is that tomorrow preachers will follow Paul's example,
And when I came to you brothers, I did not come with rhetorical flair or wisdom while proclaiming the mystery of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, the crucified one. I came in weakness, fear and excessive trembling. My speech and my message were not persuasive wise words, but a demonstration of the Spirit and power, so that your faith might not be in wisdom of men but in the power of God.  
Though we do speak wisdom among the mature. It's not a wisdom of this age nor of the rulers of this age (those being brought to nothing). No, we speak the wisdom of God shrouded in mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. It is the wisdom that none of the rulers of this age knew. For if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2.1-8 my translation) 
Whatever your political leanings or national affiliation, please remember that tomorrow is about the Crucified King. Any message that tells a story of revenge or justifies killing people in the name of "justice" is just perpetuating the same wisdom of this age. That's not the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is a Crucified King. 

1 comment:

.......joyce................................ said...

For me tomorrow is not about revenge or seeking justice, but about the innocent people senselessly targeted.