Immediately after the twin towers fell eleven years ago today, theorists began to ask why. Beyond the obvious ideological tensions between east and west, Al Qaeda and the United States, credit is given to divine providence. Americans had lost their way, some claimed, and so the Lord reacted.
The twin towers were compared to Babel. As the people below fought amongst themselves, God smacked them all in the head, metaphorically speaking, and suddenly they were all on the same page. That is not quite what happened in the Old Testament story; such is merely an analogy.
But we, as Christians, do not believe in a God who reacts as such – we believe in a God who loves intentionally. Our God does not do anything by mistake, out of cruelty, or of vengeance. Our God is in full command of God’s own actions. Ours is a God who chooses his own followers – and given who God chooses it is easy to conclude that God is crazy – but faith informs us otherwise. For bettor or for worse, God chose us.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we see already (in the early church) that conflict, even lawsuits, emerge among Christ’s first faithful. The chosen people do not get along. They fail to take on their familial identity, or be seduced, so to speak, by the beauty within each other.
Today as we remember the fall of those towers, we might recall where we were and how we reacted that day, that week. Canadians may recall feeling an unusual sympathy for their American brothers and sisters, those directly affected by the violence. We might remember the precious gift of life; how profoundly we appreciated being alive, being chosen.
When Christ died and rose, He left behind a people charged to announce his win. But to be left behind does not always feel like victory.
Why some live and others do not, why Christ had to die for disciples to live, these are mysteries not for understanding – they are the foundations of faith, our reason to act.
If we are to do what God has selected us to do we must believe that, as Christians, we have been brought together by a God who is fully in charge -a God who did not make a mistake.
The God of Jesus Christ, and his disciples, He who died and rose for us, is not a God who reacts but a God who acts purely from love for those whom he calls. May we be the called. Like the Lord who delights in us, may we adopt one another as brothers and sisters, let God be in charge, and fall for the beauty that abides within.