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We were among the worldwide audience who witnessed the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September. We have continued in prayer for those who were affected and those who perpetrated this evil.
I was in the Bangkok Airport when I saw about 10 minutes of news of the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. This was at 11:00 AM Eastern Time, so few details were known at that time. Edith was already in England where I was about to join her and others for a conference. On my flight, which left an hour late, we learned a bit more, and found that security in British airports had been tightened and thousands of passengers were stacking up in Heathrow.
Edith and I watched the news in Sussex between sessions of our retreat with colleagues. We were moved by the expressions of sympathy from the British and international staff. We prayed throughout our three-day time there, returning Friday night to Nicosia.
Cyprus Focus on America
Cyprus News has focused on the crisis in America and its implications. Cypriots resonate with the vulnerability exposed by these attacks, being on their small island in the corner of the Mediterranean, near many powerful countries. Most of the news is in Greek, so we do not follow it fully. Friends have expressed their sorrow and sympathy. Nine Cypriots died in the New York attacks; five are missing.
Praying with You
We are praying for all the grieving and the injured, the exhausted rescue and emergency workers, all those affected in so many ways and the financial situation created. We are also praying for the Arab Christians living in precarious situations throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa, and for innocent Muslims around the world.
Turn Grief to Prayer
Let your heartache, grief and anger become prayers to God for all involved. Let all your confused and tortured thoughts be prayers to God as he listens to our thoughts and senses our feelings in this crisis. As I watch the scenes of destruction, cleanup and care in New York, I direct my feelings of shock and sympathy to God, agreeing with his will for this overwhelming crisis and the hundreds of thousands affected.
I can't be there, but my prayers can!
Streams of Afghani families have left their homes in anticipation of an attack by the United States, pouring into Pakistan and other areas. The impoverished Afghani people have suffered under years of invasion, civil war and financial deprivation at the hand of their own people, and are mostly interested in living to their next day. Now they have a new fear that has driven them away from their homes.
*** Pray for the common people of Afghanistan and other countries who are powerless against the political and military powers that deprive and threaten them.
Sunday morning after our service at New Life International Church in Nicosia, an Egyptian young man who is a member came around to many of us individually and expressed his shame and horror as an Arab about this atrocity. He could not adequately express the sorrow he felt over this. But Sahir did not do this. We do not blame Sahir, our brother in Christ. We do not blame our Muslim friends in many countries. They have sided with us in sorrow, sympathy and abhorrence.
Specific people and groups did this. They have attacked Arab and Muslim countries in the same way in recent years. God is no respecter of persons. We all stand together before God's throne, worthy only through grace.
There is also a wonderful Palestinian Christian family in our church, and they are dear friends. They sing and pray with us. There have been Arab Christians since the first century. Let us all join together in faith, in love, and try to rise to the challenge, as Jesus calls us to be someone new and special for the needs of this hour.
American missionaries living in various countries report that their Muslim friends have expressed their horror and disapproval of the attacks on America.
In the past Muslim friends in Kenya responded in this same concern when previous terrorist acts have occurred. Like the Yemeni maulana (leader/teacher) of the Jamiya Mosque in Nairobi, who said "This is not Islam!" "These are not Muslims!"
*** Pray for the Arab Christians throughout all these Middle Eastern countries. They are frightened, caught in the middle.
*** Pray with us for our Muslim friends in many countries.
*** Pray for American Christians living in Arab countries, as they have this opportunity to express Christ.
*** Pray for Americans angered at this outrage, that they will act responsibly.
*** Pray for American leaders, that they will act with care and precision, considering implications of their actions.
What Would Jesus Do?
Now is the time for Christians to show what they really believe, to be God's people in the world. Is Jesus Lord in situations like this or do we make up our own rules like the rest of the world? Did Jesus really mean what he said about loving and praying or our enemies? Or was he just blowing smoke? His is a hard and high calling. But the Jesus Way seeks redemption of the evil perpetrator. Let us live in prayer and repentance for all the evil in our world.
*** We pray that the church will care for and minister to the hurting and grieving, and speak the Word of love and righteousness to society and government.
I am sad that some Americans have seen this event as permission for them to become racists and act just as the terrorists have by attacking other Americans from Arab backgrounds. This is the time to rise to our highest and best, not to descend to our lowest, which only legitimizes those who act in this terrorist manner.
*** Pray for those angry Americans who do not know the peace and power of Jesus to draw on in this kind of challenge.
A news site poll on the 17th showed that almost 3/4 of the participants thought the US should change its law, to allow assassination of foreign heads of state. What?! If the US does this -- being a member of a community of almost 300 nations -- America gives every nation permission to assassinate the American president! Is that really what we want!?? This is why Jesus said, "Deal with others the way you want them to deal with you!"
I apologize to those who sometimes get multiple copies of our messages. I noted that our server here seems to have a problem sometimes processing multiple addresses.
I write this as we are in the throes of packing up our house after two weeks in conferences. We are on minimal living now and will shut down our computer this weekend. In a few days I will join the Global Research Department (GRD) of the International Mission Board, in Richmond, Virginia.
Our email addressses will remain the same.
*** Pray that the flights we need will be flying on 4 October, when we are scheduled to leave.
You may have noticed that our Millennium site was not showing up. Shortly after sending our August Sentinel, we got notice that The Globe suddenly shut down, joining other victims of the technological slump. We will restore articles and back issues soon on another server, after we get relocated ourselves.
Meanwhile visit Orville's Thoughts and Resources, with articles on many topics of language, culture and faith.
Circulated by email 18 September 2001
Posted on Millennium Culture Centre September 2003