If you talk to somebody outside the USA, they will remind you that the attack was not just an attack against Americans, but an attack on the West, and two of its major capitals: the financial one and the political one. And certainly, the attacks were scary to most people of the world; those who were in the west as well as all over the world but especially those in the Muslim countries in Southwest Asia (commonly "the middle east"). As a matter of fact, Osama bin Laden later claimed he desired a large military response from the West so as to awake the Muslims all over the world to the evil of Western Culture.
As Christians, what are we to make of this strange, saddening, unimaginable series of events that took place? We had a christian president promising retaliation and retribution against those responsible and we had bumper stickers reading "God Bless America" appearing on the nation's first blog: bumpers. Does God desire retaliation and does this mean Justice? If we want God to bless America who now has lost over 10,000 now because of 9/11 and post 9/11 war, what about the over 100,000 lives lost in Iraq alone?
One thing that is clear is that retribution is not Justice. Justice is the transformation of evil into good. This was Jesus' highest calling. Showing us a path towards Justice in his ministry but most importantly on the Cross. We now are made right with God and able to transform the world by showing what true Justice is: forgiveness, reconciliation, and the healing power of Grace. And Grace doesn't fall on white, straight, protestant, american males, that Grace is prevenient as John Wesley said. God's blessings rain down on humanity, especially when we cry out to the LORD (Exodus 2:23-25).
So now as we try to envision a world at peace, we must remember that this can only be accomplished through the loving power of our God. We must fight the words, deeds, and lies of the Oppressor, the authority that seeks only its personal gain. And we must seek the healing power of God if we ever hope to see a world made right. Amen
Paul Richards is a certified candidate from the Texas Conference and a Senior Religious Studies Major at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. An intern at First UMC Conway in the College Ministry and an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, he enjoys sports and reading in his free time. He is excited about doing Pastoral Ministry in the future and working towards economic and social Justice in the United States and all over the world.