1 John 4:4, 7-8, 11-12, 17-18 & 21
(T)he one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (NIV)
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God.
No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.
(Verse 4, NIV. All other verses, The Message)
On Sunday, people around the world will take time to remember the 10th anniversary of, what to a generation, is now known simply as 9/11.
This week the 1 John 4:4 scripture came across in a short devotional and so I took the opportunity to dig deeper into that chapter. John is writing to possibly one of his churches and addressing those individuals who are having difficulty with love and with God.
As I think about the September 11, 2001 tragedy, the many lost lives and still grieving and disbelieving family members, I venture to say that many have had and still have difficulty with love and with God.
Astounding to me today as it was then, the fact that men claiming to be agents of God would perpetrate such heinous acts. But then throughout history men have claimed God’s authority to initiate atrocities of war.
As we mark 10 years since, I reflect upon where I was that morning: at work. What I felt was disbelief and a strange inevitability of it all, as people gathered around televisions realizing at the second planes impact I sensed a collective need for retribution, but mostly I felt an utter sadness for those dying before my very eyes.
Later that afternoon after my wife and I had come together at home we sat on our front porch and remarked at how blue and eerily quiet the empty the sky was. If you remember all air traffic was suspended for some time after the attack.
The first decade of the 21st century has been forever marked with the indelible mark of violence because of the events of September 11.
It is my hope and prayer that now, 10 years removed, our nation can begin to heal. It is time to move away from the continuous ways of war and fear that we have so easily adopted as the new normal. It is time for our brave men and women in uniform to come home.
So what else is there to really say about 9/11 that hasn't already been said, but to remember and never forget those who died. We either begin to move in the direction of love or we slide into the abyss of hate and revenge that those who attacked that day would have us ever so joyously do. We must take up that permanent residence in a life of love.
We must abolish and banish the constant crippling fear that grips us in all we do. We must realize that when we say we love God we must recognize we love people, all people. Again, we must love both because God is love.
Be a light to someone in need this coming week as we take time to remember how precious life and love truly is. Make the difficulties of life and love meaningless. Seek out God's loving face in all you do.
Here's the great Springsteen tribute from the 2001 benefit event: