In the Wake of Terrorism
One of the hardest ideas to wrap one's mind around is that God loves and values every other living individual just as much as oneself. We do not want to believe that our sin is no less serious than the sin of the terrorist. After such deliberate acts of violence as the airplane highjackings and suicidal crashes of September 11, 2001, this is particularly difficult. We do not want to believe that the suicide bomber is, in his or her own eyes, a dedicated religious and social reformer carrying out actions demanded by righteousness.
As nothing can separate us from the love of God, so also, nothing can separate that other from God's love. Acts of violence, as much as acts of love, are carried out by individuals, and individuals are the recipients of these acts, unlike impersonal events like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes.
Natural disasters are probably not preventable; the best we can do is learn how to predict them and prepare ourselves to withstand their destructive forces. The unnatural disasters, individuals doing violence to one another, may be approached the same way, but there is, in addition, hope. There is that of God in each of us, the Light of Christ, the Truth of God--by whatever name we recognize this presence.
As there is opportunity, let us invite those around us to sit down with us in peace and listen in the silence for that still small voice. Anger and the desire for violence within people's hearts can only be conquered by the Light, one heart at a time.
Let us hold one another in the Light, do acts of kindness, and work together to bring friendship and peace to all people everywhere. Let us resist violence wherever it finds us and establish a mutual goal of peace.
Liz Wicker is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Red River Monthly Meeting (NYM).