Posts Tagged '9/11'

Wonder (part 7)

This the seventh in a short series of posts.  Post 1 can be linked to here.  Post 1 can be accessed here.  Post 2 can be linked to by clicking here.  Post 3 is connected here.  Post 4 is here , post 5 is here  and post 6 is here.


I guess the largest political issue for many in my generation is rolled up in the September the 11th atrocities and the military decisions of the US and UK governments in the aftermath.  It is easy to judge our leaders rather than to pray for them and I read a recent interview with Moby where he was struggling to reconcile a natural inclination to judge with a more gracious response.

Here’s an excerpt from a book I would thoroughly recommend to you.  The American author at one point visits Iraq as part of a peace envoy.  Here is a small snippet of one of his tales:

“I was invited to worship services nearly every day while in Iraq.  The Christians in Baghdad gave me so much hope for the church.  One of the most powerful worship services I’ve ever experienced was just a few days before I headed home.  Hundreds and hundreds of Christians from all over the Middle East had gotten together – Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox.  They read a statement from the Christian church directed to the Muslim community, declaring that they love them and believe they were created in the image of God.  Then we sang familiar songs like “Amazing Grace.”  We said the Lord’s Prayer in several languages. They lead us to the cross and prayed a prayer similar to the one Jesus prayed when he was on the cross: “Forgive us, for we know not what we are doing.”  Hundreds and hundreds of people continued to try and get into the service and ended up gathering outside with candles.  It was holy.

Afterward, I was able to meet with one of the bishops who had organised the gathering, and I explained to him that I was shocked to find so many Christians in Iraq.  He looked at me, puzzled, then gently said, “Yes, my friend, this is where it all began.  This is the land of your ancestors.  That is the Tigris River and the Euphrates.  Have you read about them?”  I was floored-by my ignorance and by the ancient roots of my faith.  It is the land of my ancestors.  Christianity was not invented in America…how about that?

The bishop went on to tell me that the church in the Middle East was deeply concerned about the church in the United States.  He said, “Many Americans are for this war.”

I nodded.

And he asked, “But what are the Christians saying?”

My heart sank.  I tried to explain to him that many of the Christians in the US are confused and hope that this is a way God could liberate Iraqi people.  He shook his head and said, very humbly, “But we Christians do not believe that.  We believe “blessed are the peacemakers.”  We believe if you pick up the sword, you die by the sword.  We believe in the cross.”  Tears welled up in my eyes as he said, “We will be praying for you.  We will be praying for the church in the US…to be the church”.

That is in no way just a challenge to the US.  How different would our communities, the places we work, the places we hang out, the lives of the people we really invest time with be, if the Church of Jesus Christ actually acted and lived like the Church of Jesus Christ?  I have a long way to go, but I want to journey forward in that direction.


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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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