The People the Tower Fell On

Image from: http://www.september11news.com/WTC...
Image via Wikipedia

There’s a feeling I don’t have a word for.  It’s the mixture of disgust, embrassment, and indignation.  I feel it most often when people claiming to follow Jesus engage in acts that are just so opposite to what Jesus is about.

I know that I’m not supposed to feel this way, and I’m working on that.  But I don’t really want to write about that today.  What I want to write about is one of the specific things these buttheads do to that evokes these feelings from me.

What they do is this: For almost any disaster you can mention, there is some moron with an axe to grind who is going to broadcast his idea that it was God’s will for this disaster to occur.   Usually these people have decided that a single, particular sin is worse than all the rest and they’ve further decided that the people who suffered this disaster were a prime example of that sin.

When the World Trade Center fell, there were two groups who said this was God’s will and a punishment for America’s sins.  One group was extremist, militant Muslims.  The other group was extremist, militant Evangelical Christians.  Ironic bedfellows, there.

When I read Luke 13 this morning, I thought of these knuckleheads.  An interesting passage I never much noticed before.   Jesus is in the middle of teaching at the end of chapter 12.   Chapter 13 begins”Just at that time there (arrived) some people who informed Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifice.”

And he (Jesus) replied by saying to them , “Do you think that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the other Gallileans because they have suffered in this way?

A few verses later comes the portion that struck me:

“… those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them– do you think that they were more guilty offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalum?”

It’s a hard to come to grips with the simple truth that our very existence is gratitious, unearned, and more than we deserve.   Jesus words aren’t exactly reassuring for any of us.   The people inside that tower in Siloam weren’t any more or less deserving than the rest of  Jerusalem.

More to the point here, though, is that the people inside the World Trade Center weren’t any more or less deserving than the rest of us, either.  The idea that God some orchestrated a special, Earthly judgement on 3,000 men, women, and children, is just so ludicrious.

When God says not to take his name in vain, I have to believe that he was worried about more than people saying “Oh God” or even “God Damn it.”  Somebody who claims that the World Trade Center’s fall is God’s judgement, they are triviliazing God’s love in a way much more profound than any exclamation ever could be.

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We are all Adam

The Garden of Eden
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We are Adam.  We are Eve.  All of us.

None of us have lived up to our potential.  None of us have always trusted God.  None of us have followed his rules.

There are people who say that Adam was one man and Eve was one women.

There are others who say that they represent us all.

We lose something if we choose either of these options.

There is a mystery to be embraced here: because both of those statements are true. __________________

eigth meditation

Obviously most people, through out the history of the faith, have not made the connection I have.  They have not linked these two specific events together in the same way that I have.

And yet, you can’t meditate on the death of Jesus for very long before you come to realize several lessons from it.

You realize that God can be hurt.  And that he was hurt.  Deeply and brutally.

You realize that this hurt was caused by human kind’s foolishness.

You realize that this hurt caused a separation between God and man.

Perhaps most importantly, you realize that this hurt and separation are not the end of the story.

All these realizations are waiting for us in the story of the Garden of Eden.

When it came to the coverage of the fall of the World Trade Center, it got to the point that I thought it was too much.  Sensationalistic.  Unnecessary.  I was sick of it and I didn’t see that it was helping anybody to watch it over and over and over again.

This is where the comparison with the crucifixion begins to fall apart.

Because it was vital that God shared with us this replay of what had gone on before.  When my kids do something wrong, the only way that things can be made right is when they realize what they did was wrong.  If we don’t address the depth of the hurt they caused I am not doing my duty as a father, I am not paving the way for true forgiveness and reconciliation.

There is, of course, so much more to the crucifixion.  And some of this is mystery. But it is a mystery that is illuminated by the truth that Jesus death was a replay of Adam’s betrayal in the Garden of Eden.

Replays

Where were you when the World Trade Center fell?

That’s a defining moment for a generation.  And one of the things I remember about it was how they played that footage, over and over, for days.

It got so that we knew every plume of smoke, every flame, ever smashed detail of those buildings.  Watching that horror was terrible every single time.  It didn’t get easier.  I don’t know about you, but every single time I wanted it to stop.  There was a part of me that was in denial.  Each time it began, I wanted so much for it to end differently.

But of course it could not.   It had already happened.  That news footage was merely replaying what had gone on before.

Jesus knows the crucifixion has to happen.  He tells his followers who don’t really here him.  But he knows it’s going to go on.

I believe that the crucifixtion is many things.  One of them is replay of what happened in the Garden of Eden.  It’s like the camera’s have shifted, though, and now we’re seeing it from a different perspective.

The book of Genesis focuses on what it was like for the humans who betrayed God.

The Gospels focus on what it is was like for God when humans betrayed him.

If the Genesis account focused on humanity’s fear and foolishness, then the Gospel account focuses on the ways that God was hurt by these actions.

The crucifixion itself was inevitable.  Among other things, it was a replay of what had already happened.  God made himself vulnerable.  God was betrayed.  We chose to go on with out him.  Then things got ugly.

The second and third tower

I yelled the name of that fallen place once in a canyon.What came back to me

was not

“-orld trace center… -rld trade center… –d trade center

When the name of the fallen place rebounded back to me it was a discourse

on chosen ignorance.

The language we sought to unite the world in–

this time–

was one of greed

arrogance

exploitation.

The first tower,

in the forever ago.

I am sure it also was staffed by loving people

struggling people.

God is inexplicable:

He uses even sin for his purposes:

The hijackers were doing his bidding

and it was sin

God is inexplicable.

I am so sad.

I am so sorry.

But I also know something.

The highest tower in the world.

Should reach up a loving hand toward Him.

It should not look down

on all the world with plans

of economic conquest.

If God is the center

(and he is The Center)

then the most loving thing he can ever do

is prevent us from moving him.