A letter to the church – September 11, 2022

September 11, 2022

Dear People of God,

On September 11, 2001, Brenda and I were living in New Zealand.  We awoke that morning to the horrific images of the Islamic terror attacks in Manhattan, Virginia and Pennsylvania.  I recall listening, watching, praying and contemplating the attacks and how we should respond as disciples of Jesus Christ.  Many in our diocese who are in their early 20’s and younger, will not have a real memory of the events of September 11, 2001 and the immediate aftermath.  I believe it is important that we do not forget the tragedy of that day and the ongoing consequences on our lives today.

Every September 11, I continue to remember the attacks, the lives that were lost and the unjustifiable suffering inflicted on innocent children, women and men in the name of a religion that is still intolerant of people who practice a faith different from their own.

As I reflect on the words written about the September 11 attacks, the opinions that have been presented, the books that have been published and the attempts, made by many individuals to justify Islam as a religion of peace, I continue to draw the same conclusion year after year – genuine peace, peace like no other, peace for now and peace eternally is only ever found in Jesus Christ alone. He is not only the author of peace, He himself is our peace, He came preaching peace and of [his] peace there will be no end. [Isaiah 9:7, ESV]

Today, so many people are yet to discover the unshakable confidence that Christ the Prince of Peace offers to those who seek him and find him.  Other religions only speak about a momentary experience of peace which they cannot deliver. The Christ of the gospels invites us to come to him, and as we come, we discover rest for weary souls, forgiveness for sin and wrongdoing and the reassurance that we have been restored, through Christ, to a God who created us and loves us.  The peace which comes from Jesus Christ passes all our understanding.

‘In Christ alone’ is the message we as Christians are still commissioned by Christ, to proclaim to the world.  This is the message that individuals, families, churches, cities and nations need to hear as we reflect on the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the advancement of evil in this modern world.

The responsibility to proclaim this message of good news about Jesus Christ in our generation has fallen to you and me. The Apostle Paul writes, “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” [Romans 10:14, ESV]

I invite you to join me in regularly sharing the gospel with people who do not know Christ.  Christ alone is the only answer for a world racked with terror, injustice, suffering and pain.  Twenty-one years have passed since the September 11 attacks.  May you and I be amongst those who make a difference in the world today by sharing Christ personally and publicly, for such a time as this.

MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live: Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that we may all be gathered into one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. [BCP 1662, International Edition]

Peace, be still.

The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs

Diocesan Bishop | Anglican Diocese of the Living Word