9/11 Memories and Dreams

I am listening to 9/11 memorial services, reading of all the names of those who died that day, except of course the terrorists. Who mourns for those enemies Jesus tells us to love?  What families did they leave behind?  What legacy of anger and malice drove them, and how contagious was/is that vengeance in our response.  No turning the other cheek here, just promises as recently as last week from President Biden to “hunt you down.”  What if we could sit down and break bread instead of breaking heads?  Is that a pipe dream, a hopelessly naive fantasy?  If it is what hope is there for a world that will ever at peace?  And I’m not talking about peace through mutual assured destruction but true peace through unity, through the ties that bind us all together as passengers on spaceship earth. 

Has there ever been a time in human history free from conflict and war?  Ever since Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden and the following fratricide between their sons the human family has been hell bent on creating more deadly and efficient ways to assert power over one another.  What if all that “creative” energy to invent smart bombs, split atoms and destroy one another could be channeled into learning ways to save our planet and all the creatures God has entrusted us with?  Even on this day when we relive the horror of 9/11 I still dare to hope for a time when God will “pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”  (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17)

Because like the cockeyed optimist nurse Nellie Forbush sings in the great musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein,  “South Pacific,” “I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can’t get it out of my heart – not this heart.”

3 thoughts on “9/11 Memories and Dreams

  1. Thank you for this, Steve. You probably know that the musical “South Pacific” also contains a song (whose title I forget) the lyrics of which say that hatred against other peoples must be carefully taught. Hoping that the hope in your heart “wins” (as in “wins people over” — as in Rob Bell’s book title “Love Wins.” May it be so.

    1. Yes, that song is called “Carefully Taught,” and it is one of my favorites. Our high school did South Pacific when I was a junior. I can’t sing a lick but I was on the stage crew and heard the music so often I still know almost the whole score by heart. It’s a great show, and I didn’t realize until much later in life how it helped teach us great life lessons about prejudice and racism in an indirect way, as Craddock would describe it. We never could have addressed social justice issues in our conservative little town directly. That experience still feels like my best memory of high school and gave me my first example of the power of narrative and the arts to teach us things that purely logical/rational discourse cannot.

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