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Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11/10 Matthew 24:1-2,6-10 The tragedy of 911

1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." ...
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other

Thoughts: On this ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, we might remember these words of Jesus which speak of the destruction of buildings, wars and rumors of wars.  Jesus was not interested in the maintaining of the temple building as much as he was interested in the spreading of the Holy Spirit in millions of temples- the hearts of the people.  There is great tension in our world between ideas- mainly secular western ideas and Muslim ideas.  Yesterday, President Obama said, "The idea that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else's religion is contrary to what this country stands for. It's contrary to what this country -- this nation was founded on."  Yet the U.S. military destroyed Bibles in Afghanistan May 5, 2009 by burning them (  Would that we would not burn Bibles or burn Korans or burn flags or symbols that are precious to others.  Our troops are fighting for freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to vote.  It is not simply the freedom of Muslims- though that is assured as well.  It is freedom of all faiths- the minority and the majority that is important.  The tragedy of 9-11 is that there are those who would be violent against those who are of a different faith or way of life.  The Christian minister who threatened to burn Korans was wrong-abusing his freedom.  The Imam who seeks to build an Islamic center/mosque near the site of the 9-11 tragedy is being insensitive as well- abusing his freedom. We should enjoy our freedom by being kind and considerate toward our neighbor. Wars, rumors of war, hate, persecution, faith growing cold- all these are tragic things that we should seek to avoid.

Prayer: May we, Father, rely on you for our protection and our true freedom. 

John Calvin commentary abridged: We ought not to suppose that buildings and edifices are blessed because they are big and wealthy; whereas those who are poor and simple are not so blessed.  The disciples were astonished at the vast expense of the building as Herod had 10,000 workers employed for eight successive years on the temple; Yet the huge building veiled the eyes of the disciples so that they could not see the true reign of Christ.  Our senses too eagerly follow pomp, expense, pleasure and worldliness.

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