9/11 Memorial Image

At 7:00 PM PDT on Sept. 14, 2001 people all across America paused wherever they were to light a candle in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In doing this we shared our grief, prayed for each other and our nation, and resolved to do whatever it takes to see to it that they did not die in vain. That evening I took my candle into the North Cascades mountains of Washington State and lit it in a place whose beauty and serenity defies the evil of this act and took this photo. I lit it in memory of those who died, their families, and everyone who helped to rescue and care for those wounded and terrified. This candle and this image are a small, symbolic act at best. They won't change the world, bring back the dead,or heal anyone's scars. But they do point to a larger reality that will.

Peace does not begin with my neighbors, my enemies, or my government--it begins with me. It is up to me to speak for, and model, alternatives to hate of all kinds. If military action is undertaken against terrorists it is up to me to see that it is measured and just. That which is born of impulsive rage or mere nationalistic fervor only mirrors what it professes to be against (a fact that sadly, is known all too well to the people of Iraq and the families of our troops that have fallen there). Most importantly, any war against terror must begin in my own heart. I must come humbly before God to have my own pain and fear be transformed before I transmit them to others and become part of the same cycle of hate that fueled this act.

Responding to terrorism may well require military action of some sort, but only a last resort and with much regret and prayer for wisdom (though this may seem insultingly obvious, it is remarkable how few of war’s proponents show any evidence of either). When religious or patriotic sabre rattling eclipses compassion, terms like "terrorist", "freedom fighting", and even faith are used interchangeably by both sides of any conflict and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell who is who. Terrorists, and everyone else who lives by the sword, are living proof that it is easier to die for hate than to live for redemption.

In times like these it is too easily forgotten that war can never be a final solution to anything. No amount of military force will ever bring true and lasting peace until there is justice--not just for some, but for everyone. Rich and poor, strong and weak, and regardless of race, religion, nationality, or lifestyle. Christ died to make this possible by reconciling us to God so that we can be reconciled to each other. His resurrection is our proof, once and for all, that evil will not have the last word.

All proceeds from the sale of this image will be donated to World Vision, Amnesty International, and other organizations that are working to make this possible.

     - Scott Church

9/11 Memorial
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