The Ladies' Tea Guild

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11: memorial events in the Bay Area

Everyone over the age of 15 remembers the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  The United States was affected in a way we have not been since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but the attack that happened 10 years ago came from an enemy we were not actively at war with, and for religious, more than political, reasons.  There are many lessons that we are still learning from the events of September 11th, and while the 10-year anniversary marks a time period that has seen some advances in security, there is still a long way to go in the cause of safety and freedom.

Many people blame all religions for the war, but the real culprit is selfishness, the devaluing of human life, and the desire for power at all cost, which can be expressed through atheism as well as organized (or dis-organized) religion.  Many people also blame God for the tragedy, but if you or I went out and robbed a bank today, would we have the right to blame it on God and weasel out of taking responsibility for our own actions?  God has given everyone the same choice; it's the ultimate "equal opportunity."

Every minute of every day, we all face the same choice again and again: to know what is good and to do it, or to have it our own way.  We are in the middle of a world where the overwhelming majority choose their own way instead of the right way, and this is the anniversary of one dramatic, wide-reaching consequence, which has sucked innocent people into its whirlpool of torment.  God allows us our own way, but He also allows the natural consequences to occur because He is fair.  He is not sitting up on a cloud with a thunderbolt in His hand, just waiting to punish people.

Every situation is totally in His control, but He is not a micro-manager; He doesn't want bad things to happen as much as we do, but He allows us our free will.  Just as in other aspects of life, when we choose to be selfish, it affects other people negatively.  There is no action that involves only the person committing that action; attitudes shape the character, character shapes the actions, and actions and attitudes create culture and society.  We can't blame society for our sins without blaming ourselves!  The suffering of those who were murdered on September 11, and their families, is real, and it's not God's fault that it happened, it's the fault of the people who made the decision to act on their selfishness.

God allows both good/pleasant and bad/painful things to happen for many reasons, but one of them is surely this: to get our attention off of the everyday and put things into eternal perspective.  God has the big picture, and the ultimate goal includes this: that everyone will see and know Him in reality, not according to the "warm-fuzzy" or "old white guy with a beard" images that we've created of Him.  Blessings and tragedies are both windows into the eternal: one is a window into heaven, and one a window into hell.  We are given a glimpse through both windows throughout our life, and we have the responsibility to use that information wisely.  God has told us what is the wise thing to do, by giving us a conscience: we know what is right and wrong, what principles and actions are good.  If we smother that knowledge we have only ourselves to blame!

There are many memorials scheduled for today throughout the United States.  Here are some (from the SJ Mercury News) that are happening in the Bay Area:

San Francisco Bay Area Flight 93 Memorial: at the intersection of Alvarado Niles Rd. and Dyer St., Union City.  A remembrance ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, September 11.

Twin Towers Memorial Park: at Camelback Rd. between Scottsdale Rd. and Spar Ct., Pleasant Hill.

Napa 9/11 Memorial: at Main and First St., Napa.  A dedication ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m., Sunday, September 11.

Oak Hill Memorial Park Flight 93 Memorial ceremony: at 300 Curtner Ave., San Jose.  A candlelight vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, September 11.  

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)