Twenty years ago terrorists attacked the United States setting off a series of tragic events, whose ‘conclusion’ we recently were viewing in Afghanistan. Many of these events have left ill feelings in many Americans – some towards the perpetrators of the terrorism, some towards our government’s response to those events, and now some towards those trying to bring our country’s involvement in these events to an end. There are plenty of people to blame for all that went wrong, but maybe the time comes for Americans themselves to move on from these events, and for Orthodox that means spending “the remaining time of our life in repentance.” Indeed there are many things we can repent of because the events incited our passions, and passions lead to sin. It is time for us to repent and change our hearts and minds, conforming them to Christ. Think about it: Any children of the survivors of the 2001 attacks are now all adults even if they were newborn at the time of the attacks.
Patriarch Pavle of Serbia who witnessed the destructive 1990’s events of the Balkan Wars in his own region said:
“If we live as people of God, there will be room for all nations in the Balkans and in the world. If we liken ourselves to Cain who killed his brother Abel, then the entire earth will be too small even for two people. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to be always children of God and love one another. We should remember the words of St Paul: ‘If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.’” (FOR THE PEACE FROM ABOVE, p 195)
So, as Christians in America we can offer up prayers that the evil that was present through the initial terrorist attacks and then through all the events and wars precipitated by their actions might be overcome in our hearts and in the world today.
Lord Jesus Christ, in Your great mercy You prayed for the forgiveness of those who crucified You, and You taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Lord, I pray that You forgive those who treat me unjustly and speak out against me, and that You bless them and guide them according to Your will. Take away any bitterness I may have in my heart against them. Lord, may Your forgiveness, goodness and love be revealed in all of us, to Your praise and glory. Amen. (My Orthodox Prayer Book, Kindle Location 811-815)
Heal, O Lord, the hearts and minds of all those who were wounded by the terrorists in their hideous attack and all those wounded by the wars which followed – whether innocent civilians, victims of the attacks, first responders or our soldiers. Heal them of their physical, mental and spiritual wounds. Help us, Lord, to work for love and understanding among the people on earth.