In one week, it will be 9/11 all over again- calendrically speaking. This particular September 11, will bring us to seven years after the horrific events in NYC, the Pentagon building, and PA, when terrorists commandeered commercial airplanes and used them with their passengers as weapons of mass destruction.
Seven years. Although much has been done- for good or for ill- in the name of 9/11, I cannot see this day approaching without remembering the shock. So, the first and most appropriate word to share is a prayer:
God of life, God of love, God of grace, God of peace:
Everything that you are was violated enormously on that fateful day seven years ago.
Grant peace to families that are still grieving. Grant hope to those whose nightmares won't go away. Grant us all greater understanding, greater forebearance, and greater love for one another. Amen.
It is hard for me to leave off my reflections today without mentioning the number 7 and the role that it plays in both biblical texts and in the imaginations of those who interpret or misinterpret those texts. Seven is no magic number, but it is a significant number in the Scriptures. Not only does the first creation story culminate with the establishment of the Sabbath on the seventh day, but number seven is used repeatedly to signify God's gift of the Sabbath (think: rest, restitution, restoration) to humanity.
Many modern biblical interpreters, however, have traded the significance of the number 7 for a magical view of the number, as if it were a secret sign understood only by these insightful prognosticians. In fact, they are merely using this number to capitalize on fear. That is why the Seven Years of Tribulation and the "666" (a close-call knock-off of the good number "777") are such hair-raising words to many of us.
Some of these folk, as one might imagine, have declared 9/11 to be the "beginning of the end," and this is where today's date becomes intriguing. If they are correct in their Tribulation Time Table, then we are one week (7 DAYS!) away from the end of the Tribulation. I suppose that also means that the rapture took place on 9/11.
Hmm... all this time I've been enjoying the smiles of my children, the love of my friends and family, the sun, the Cubs, and all kinds of things both fleeting and long-lasting. Left Behind, and loving it. Cool.