Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Suffering and the Search for Answers

As we approach the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, I feel my own anxiety build. The memories of that day are unpleasant, to put it mildly. As Americans, we came face to face with our vulnerability. We witnessed tragic loss of life at home. Despite our best efforts, justice is incomplete. The whole thing feels unresolved.

Some events are never finished. They might recede into the background and become less overwhelming, but they are always present. 9/11 is such an event. Given the nature of this anniversary, how do we respond?

I think a kind of holy recall is possible to mark the loss and horror of that day. We remember to honor and hold dear what was lost, life and perspective. We remember in prayer those who died, received injuries and those who live with grief.

We often hear questions about the presence of God in the midst of tragedy and suffering. God was certainly present at the World Trade Center. No horror or tragedy is sufficient to cause God to flee, not even a seemingly senseless execution. A better question might be leveled. What does the resurrection faith of the Church demand?

As followers of Jesus, we press forward to a new day, bolstered by his promise of the kingdom. The Bible is full of images illustrating the kingdom, like the lion resting with the lamb and swords beaten into plowshares. The response of faith is working with God to bring about a time and place, where hatred doesn’t move women and men to act, but love.