Twenty five years ago I heard an Adventist minister say that all the prophecies in the Bible had been fulfilled except the one in Mathew 24:14. He reasonsoned that with the technology available at that time, the last remaining pockets of the world that hadn't heard the gospel would, no doubt, hear it.
After watching all of the 9/11 specials, especially “The Path to 9/11, I'm hoping that this now forgotten minister's sermon finds its fulfillment sooner than later. Most of the year one becomes desensitized to the death and dying overseas. One almost has to in order to keep on living, going to work, and enjoying life in spite of its imperfections, otherwise depression or something worse would overpower one for good.
But on this one day, with its grim reminder of what should never have happened here, or anywhere in the world, one can allow oneself the luxury of reveling in the shock and the painful memories of those who were lost and of the relative innocence of the pre-9/11 world.
Everyone talks about their last sighting of the twin towers. Mine occurred on 9/9/01 as I walked towards the elevated train that would take me from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The East River was only minutes away by train and as I looked towards the Western sky in mid-afternoon, I saw for the first time in my life the not-so-distant twin towers. I had never thought to look at them from Brooklyn. I'm glad I got one last chance. I admired their colossal size that even from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, they were close enough and could just as easily have been in Brookyn itself.
Later on that afternoon, I was dazzled by a state-of-the-art living-theater panorama with electronic music swirling as the digital images of cityscapes and people, flitting across streets and plazas, created a memorable art montage in a multi-media exhibit of the old Museum of Modern Art. I smiled and felt thankful that I was able to see early 21st century art in my favorite art venue in New York City. I looked forward to my next visit to that city and that temple of art. Little did I know that I would never see that city or that art-for-art's sake environment ever again. No one would.
While watching the semi-fictionalized mini-series, The Path to 9/11, in spite of its controversial build-up, I felt, not hopeless, but a bit frustrated as to what one person could do to deal with the continuing aftermath of 9/11, as well as how to prevent it from ever happening again. It is something that all good people of faith can do. I say it in the following way because I am a Christian and this is what gives meaning and hope to my life. If you are not of my faith, I hope you can find a comparable set of goals to complement my life-affirming approach.
I am attracted to the number three because of it's trinitarian qualities. Therefore, the only three realities that are my tools for suriviving and changing myself and my world are these.
- Dedicated and meaningful study of the Word of God (Old and New Testaments)
- Seeking for Righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus
- Seeking for the baptism and continued infilling by Jesus Christ of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit
It is my conviction that with these three realities in my daily life, a repeat of the tragedy of 9/11 cannot only be prevented, but spiritually reversed, as well.
If we allow ourselves to be changed through these three realities, then we in and of ourselves become a positive force in the world and for God, the God of peace and life and love. We then effect at least one other person with the results of these three realities. They in turn effect someone else. This endless effect and re-effect can never cease, as a rolling stream can do nothing but seek its outlet in the sea. Year after year, this positive force for goodwill will relentlessly counteract the damage done, and prevent future damage from ever rising again. The power of a genuinely loving individual connected to the source of infinite life is invincible against all systems of hate, death and war.
It is my sincere hope that at least one person will be receive a sympathetic effect from my bittersweet recollections of what was, but need not have been, nor need ever be again.