The increased communication of our generation allowed the events of 09-11-01 to be broadcast capturing the attention of most of the world. Perhaps every generation has a special day that is stamped on their minds with a sense of infamy…but this one seems to be more far-reaching than most.
I remember being in the Richmond offices of the IMB and joining the staff in the lobby as we gathered around the TV. It didn’t take long for me to barge into a meeting led by the president, Jerry Rankin. The group turned and looked at my rude behavior with bewilderment as I walked across the room and turned on the TV announcing, “I’m sorry to interrupt but I think this will have great impact on world evangelization!”
Most of us remember the questions we were asking as we watched the next scenes unfold: “what will happen next? Where will this all lead?”
Before that day, many sleepy Christians were unaware of world religions; most had little understanding of what others believe, where they live and how many people are “out there” who don’t see life through the same lens as us. Before that day, few conversations mentioned the teachings of Islam and it certainly did not surface in the evening news. Now, most every day we hear unfamiliar names on the news and people from every angle discuss the need for understanding as they search for what could bring the possibility of peaceful co-existence in a troubled world.
Followers of Christ should lead the way. We should lead the way in explaining differences between peoples and religions…and we should lead the way in treating people with dignity. The Gospel demands it!
Followers of Christ should be the first to talk about what divides people by explaining People Groups and tribal perspectives giving context to the clashes that erupt from ethnic division. The Gospel addresses it!
Followers of Christ should live with the blessed hope that He is gathering worshipers from every tribe and nation and language and people…and walk everyday with the joy of knowing that Jesus deserves to be worshiped by all the Peoples of the world. The Gospel expects it!
9/11 was a day when hate and division ripped the hearts of many who watched the images on TV and suddenly fear began to rule. However, as the people ran from the burning buildings, brave firemen and rescue workers ran in. They understood their commission and knew it was not optional. Their assignment was to save lives.
9/11 was a day when the curtain was pulled back on the complexity and division on our world. Some are still filled with fear; some run from the real issues. Yet, those of us who have been given the message of reconciliation must understand our commission. It is not optional. We must run into the places where others are running out. Our assignment is clear…we have the answer! Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.