Even though the events of 9/11 happened 10 years ago the images remain fresh in our minds. Seeing the planes crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre and then, just 2 hours later, the 2 towers collapsing is still a vivid memory. Nearly 3000 people died in the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93.
These events remind us of the uncertainty and brevity of life. Those who died had no reason to think that 9/11 would be the last day of their lives. After hearing the news of the attacks relatives and friends tried desperately to call those they knew might be in the Twin Towers, but there was no reply. Many families were plunged into grief and sorrow and some still struggle to come to terms with what happened that day.
Amazingly, however, some survived. One lady, who was on the 63rd floor, spoke of how she was rescued from the rubble and brought to safety. As she lay under the rubble she prayed to God. As a child she had attended church with her parents, but had decided that following Jesus Christ was not for her. She had come to the big city and was enjoying the night life and hoped she might become an exotic dancer. As she lay under the rubble she asked God to give her a second chance and promised that, if he did, she would dedicate the rest of her life to him. God heard her prayer and within a few minutes a man called her name and held her hand and she was rescued. To this day she has never seen that man again. There were many unsung heroes that day.
It is not easy to know how to respond to events like 9/11. In the past 10 years Western nations have been waging war on terror around the world. It is still unclear how effective this will be. The teaching of Jesus is challenging and truly radical. He taught his disciples to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them. Despite all the good things he had done he was unjustly condemned to die. On the Cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” With God’s help, in a world of continuing conflict, we need not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good.