Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 11, 2005
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
Press, here is a selection from our new book
of daily devotions, "Living as the Beloved:
One Day at a Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Inner attitudes and cleansing
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For
you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but
inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the
cup, so that the outside also may become clean."
Jesus says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup
and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed
and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First
clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside
also may become clean" (Matthew 23:25-26, NRSV).
These stinging words are as relevant today as when
Jesus uttered them. Religious people have often
been quick to point the finger and condemn others,
while neglecting to first look in the mirror. Our
human nature is often blind to our own faults and
eager to pass the blame on to others. September
11, 2001 is a powerful example of such religious
condemnation, bigotry, and hypocrisy.
That morning four hijacked planes had been used in
a carefully planned, well-coordinated attack. Two
had deliberately crashed and destroyed the twin 110-
story towers of the World Trade Center building in
New York City. Minutes later another crashed into
the Pentagon in Washington, DC, causing the White
House to be evacuated while the fourth plane crashed
outside Pittsburgh. Scenes of hell could not be any
worse than these horrific moments as thousands of
innocent people died in fiery infernos.
Wise spiritual leaders from around the world quickly
urged the dazed public to refrain from retributive
hate crimes. Within hours, people from many faiths
came together and began many extraordinary interfaith
vigils mingling Jewish, Christian, and Muslim prayers
for peace and healing. Our prayers connected us in
our common human condition of mourning.
Tragically, before the dust of the rubble settled,
prominent television evangelists, powerful voices of
the religious right, pointed their fingers in judgment
and accused liberal civil liberties groups, feminists,
homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for being
partially responsible for the terrorist attacks. These
self-righteous contemporary Pharisees proclaimed these
were the people who made God angry at America. They
vilified many innocent citizens. Ignorant, bigoted,
and fearful people responded with savage violence
against fellow Americans in their eagerness to
retaliate because of the hateful religious rhetoric.
The hate-filled extremist terrorist rhetoric of the
9/11 highjackers had met its match.
According to Jesus, all human beings have great
potential to be self-indulgent religious hypocrites,
pointing fingers in judgment towards others while
neglecting to take care of the inherent potential
for evil in their own souls. This seems to be an
especially dangerous occupational hazard for religious
professionals. We would be wise to remember we are
all sinners in need of grace. None of us are perfect
or without sin except God. Together, we should weep
with God as we meditate on the words from Jesus and
grieve the events of September 11, 2001.
God, help us look in the mirror and see ourselves
through your holy eyes. As we remember September 11,
2001, we ask you heal the broken hearted and pray for
our world. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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