Today's Lectionary Text
Matthew 7:3-5Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.
Like many who may read this, I will never forget that dreadful day 20 years ago today. Sept. 11, 2001, was to many of our current generations what Pearl Harbor was to my parents and grandparents. Like Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11, 2001, is a date that will live in infamy.
I remember the day well. My wife and oldest daughter were getting ready for their drive to Broken Bow, where my oldest attended elementary school and my wife worked. I was sitting at the breakfast table in the kitchen with the TV on, when it was announced “something was happening.”
An airplane had flown into the first of two towers on the World Trade Center. As I sat eating my Frosted Flakes and drinking my coffee, I said out loud to myself, “ Pffft. If they hadn’t built those towers so high, this never would have happened.”
About that time there was a distorting noise and a WHAM. The second aircraft had flown into the second tower of the World Trade Center. Suddenly, I realized as a nation the United States was under attack. Then, came reports of the Pentagon and another craft missing in Pennsylvania.
In those moments, I was appalled by my sarcasm. And as a former journalist, I swore I’d never say “it must be a slow news day” to the news reports that aired the night before. For the rest of the day, I was glued to the TV set trying to coordinate a worship service for the community two days later.
Over those two days, Jesus’ teachings about removing the speck from a neighbor’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own really started eating at me. I pondered if there were people in the world who were trying to get the attention of the United States. Something within me yearned for justice; not just for the people who attacked the United States, but also for those living in poverty and oppression. Why?
It has to do the greatest commandment – loving God and our neighbor as ourselves. Today, I pray for the type of justice that may make that happen.
-Rev. Mark Crist
Holdredge First UMC
Prayer for Reflection
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. And amen.
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