Saturday, September 10, 2011
For September 11th ten years later
An additional Old Testament lesson:
“And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it. And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.” (Judges 6:25-32)
(My Sermon for today is in the post below this one)
This is September 11, 2011. It has been ten years since that second “Day that will live on infamy.” It has been ten years since thousands of civilians, non-combatants, were murdered by an enemy that lacks the courage to fight as men fight, cowards who dope their mules into acts of suicide and murder with promises that nobody will fulfill. The God who made all living things, and who gives life to all, will never reward with Paradise those who murder large numbers of people indiscriminately, since by any standard of law, Divine or human, such an act cannot be just. It sentences the innocent with the guilty, and destroys without distinction. Real men, if they have cause to fight a war, pit army against army with the intention of sparing non-combatants.
So, quite rightly we have no respect for our enemies, because they deserve no respect by any standard. They are not warriors and not soldiers, but murderers. They are not martyrs, for martyrs, by correct definition, die to give witness to the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Martyrs do no harm, and commit no evil as they surrender their lives in the same fashion as St. Stephen, praying for their persecutors with love and forgiveness. Now, if our enemies are not warriors, not soldiers and not martyrs, what are they? They are terrorists, mass murderers and suicides. Therefore, we cannot have any respect for them as we would for brave men who die in battle, especially those who die in a just war.
Who are our enemies? They are not poor and oppressed victims of American greed. In fact, they are wealthy, rich men who have vast sums of money behind them due to the oil trade. They do not attack because of grievances, rightly or wrongly, but because of a religious fanaticism in which Reason has no place. We may be sure, then, that their god is not God. They themselves, by their violence, confirm that they do not believe in God, but merely some god who needs their protection, whose honor must be defended by mere human beings. If he is a god, if he is God, let him plead for himself, as Gideon’s father said about Baal. If their god was God they would not need to protect him, fight for him or defend his honor. It would be blasphemy to try. By killing on his behalf, they show that they see their god as weak and helpless. If they believe otherwise, then they blaspheme by their actions. When they kill in the name of their god, they dishonor him, and prove to us that they themselves believe that what they worship is weak enough to need their violence.
God, however, cannot be served by injustice, such as the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. God needs no protection, no defense to His honor, and no pleading of His cause. It is unthinkable.
On this day we may remember that we have real heroes to honor. We remember Todd Morgan Beamer and courageous Americans on Flight 93. They were the first group of passengers who knew that the hijacking was all about using the plane as a weapon to strike an American target. They were also the last. Because they concluded that the plane was headed to Washington DC, to strike a vital target, after reciting the Lord’s Prayer, they fought back and made flight 93 crash somewhere other than its intended target. By doing so they showed that no airplane, with American passengers, will ever again be used as a weapon.
With some modifications to fit the occasion, we may make use of a prayer for the Faithful Departed:
Remember thy servants, O Lord, especially those who were murdered by the evil of terrorists this day ten years ago, according to the favour which thou bearest unto thy people, and grant that, increasing in knowledge and love of thee, they may go from strength to strength, in the life of perfect service, in thy heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever, one God, world without end. Amen.