I was on my way to meet some friends for an early breakfast on September 11, 2001. It was a beautiful morning in Portland, OR when I heard the news on the radio that the North Tower of the World Trade Center had been hit by a jet airliner. I had worked in lower Manhattan in the mid-80s, so I had been in and out of the towers many, many times. I had brothers, cousins and friends who worked in lower Manhattan, including in the twin towers. Then the newscaster announced that another plane flew into the South Tower. I turned the car around and went home to tell my wife what was happening. By the time I got home, the Pentagon had been hit.
We turned on the television and watched in dismay. For the next hour, confused messages over the airwaves gave way to the realization that we had been attacked by terrorists who commandeered commercial jets and flew them into these buildings. The White House and the Capitol were evacuated and closed. The entire United States airspace was shut down.
The images of that day and the days that followed were burned into our memories. Many innocent people lost their lives. The greatest power in the world was reeling in response to its vulnerability. Heightened fear had everyone on alert as we wondered when, how or if the next shoe would drop. The world changed on that day.
There is evil in this world. We are living on the accumulated sins of a myriad of generations. All it takes is open eyes to see the pervasiveness of evil. 9/11 was one of those times when the sober reality of the world we live in sunk into the American psyche. The world watched. In many places in the world, the ever-present reality of evil is nothing new, with senseless death being the norm from war, disease and hunger. It is fitting today to consider God’s answer to evil; the reconciling work of Jesus Christ…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:1-18, ESV)
The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.