The pictures above represent some of the many faces of 9/11 for me. They have been on our refrigerator for a long time. There is my youngest brother who was killed as the first plane went through the World Trade Towers. In one picture he is holding my nephew, in the other he is finishing up a bike ride to raise money for Anchor House which provides a safe haven for teens in the Trenton area. There is 8-year-old Amina who became an adult long before she should have stopped running and playing with her friends. I met her in Kabul, Afghanistan where she shared about the day when her whole family except her was killed in a coalition force bombing. Then there is Arifa, holding her new born son Mohamed. He was named after her older son who had died fighting the Taliban. Arifa welcomed us into her home and village just outside of Kabul.
It is hard to believe it has been fifteen years since September 11, 2001. A beautiful Fall Tuesday that quickly changed into death and destruction, a day that produced many more pictures like mine. In the days after 9/11 there was shock, grief, and anger. There were loud calls for revenge, and my Muslim friends were considered suspects by many. In the midst of that I remember being deeply thankful for the foundations that was nurtured in me by the church. To be able to be defined not by the acts of terror, but by the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Fifteen years later, the violence and hatred in our world continues to escalate and more faces join my collage every day. May we not be timid in sharing the love we know in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The world desperately needs our witness. The world is longing for our voice, sometimes not even aware, recognizing only when they hear our voices speaking the word of God’s love.
Friends, will you join me in setting aside our fears and reluctance to be that voice? We have been called together by the love of God, and we are defined by that love which is greater than anything else. In that truth we have more than enough. May our voices be raised so collages such as mine are no longer made, because there is no need. As the people of God, we can do this!