1 John 5:11 – This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life. (MSG)
Revelation 12:11 – They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! (RSV)
As we continue to reflect on the devastating events of September 11, much has been said in an attempt to understand those men who were willing to give their lives to commit such terrible acts of violence and hatred. Probably not since the times of the persecution of Christians in the second and third centuries has the world seen men and women so eager to rush toward a martyr's death. Apparently those who committed these frightening deeds believed that, in doing so, they were rushing straight into the arms of God.
This might be the time to remember that the word martyr means witness. Only when a witness is tortured by an opponent does he or she suffer to the death. The point of this is that we are all called to be witnesses, to proclaim the faith we have been given by a loving God, to proclaim His love, and not to take His vengeance into our own hands.
Back in the seventies, we used to sing a song called Evidence. It asked the question, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" In our daily lives, do we give true witness to our faith in Jesus? Perhaps the "martyrdom" of these men in the airplanes should cause us to stop and ask ourselves again how effective, how powerful, and how true to His loving nature our daily witness is.
Prayer: Father, in these tempestuous times, help us to be faithful witnesses to what You have revealed to us in Christ Jesus. Teach us tolerance of others, patience in all our judgments, and a quiet trust in You for the outcome of all the events of our lives. In Jesus' name. Amen.