Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jesus - unbelievable? Believable? Hmm......

In lieu of preaching this Sunday, I wrote this dramatic exploration of the Matthew passage. 

How do you answer the Priest's final question - are Jesus' words believable? He was, we must remember, completely unauthorized by the Powers that Be - which in part were the Priestly class, the Levites, the only one of the 12 tribes of Israel given authority via God's law given to Moses to be priests and to speak for God - to do what he did. 

The parables that the Jesus in this drama offers are parables that Jesus said, though I tried to make them a bit more contemporary and less male-centric, to be less patriarchal and less kyriarchal. 

Your dialogue is appreciated. 

Drama for September 28, 2014
Matthew 21:23-32
(c) 2014 Rev. David J. Huber
Used in worship in lieu of a sermon on 9/29/2014, original performance by Hannah Zehms (Priest) and Sandy Moore (Jesus). Read the drama, or listen to theperformance.

PERMISSIONS!!! - You are completely free to use this drama without charge, but YOU MUST give me credit as the author in any bulletins or powerpoints or whatever media you use to display/broadcast what you are doing. Such credit must include my name (Rev. David J. Huber) and a link to this specific blog post, a link to my church's website (, mention of my facebook page (RevDavidHuber) my twitter (@revdavidhuber) and my church's facebook page and twitter (PlymouthUnitedChurchOfChrist and @plymouthec). And if you could make a donation to my church's Street Ministry, that will be Very Much Appreciated! Not necessary, but appreciated. Like I said, usage is free. But we have a lot of homeless folks here who could se some help. 

    Chief Priest


Just unbelievable. I’ve been the chief priest of this temple – God’s temple! The only temple!! - for decades, and now this Jesus guy is stirring up trouble.

Oh, he’s been here before. He’s spent most of time out in the country, but he’s come here a few times. I remember he came here when he was a child, couldn’t have been any more than twelve or thirteen years old. Wise for a child. Wiser than most adults, really! Wonderful insights into scripture. He was here for days talking with the priests and holding his own, asking questions, offering ideas. I thought he would go places. He would have made an excellent priest.

I was surprised that a twelve year old kid would come back for so many days, but I heard later it was because he didn’t bother to join his family when they left! (laughter) They traveled for two days before they realized he wasn’t with them, and had to come back to get him. But that gave more time to listen to him, to teach him and learn from him.

Sad, kind of, that he had to leave. If we could have kept him here, had a chance to train him properly... [trailing off in wistful thought]

Then he shows up again a couple years ago, out there with that Baptising madman. That John. Now he goes around a self-proclaimed prophet and teacher, people call him Rabbi. Rabbi of all things! He causes problems wherever he goes. Sure, he heals the sick, but … he hangs out with women! And he has a group of followers made of prostitutes, tax collectors, traitors to his people, even terrorists! Terrorists like Simon Peter! Many of them are unclean. Not proper for a good patriotic, faithful man. And his teachings!

If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.


I tell you, in God’s world, many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.


Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Do you hear that?

What is God like? God is like a banker who was ready to foreclose on hundreds of people’s homes. They owed more money than they could earn in thousands of years. But instead of foreclosing on them, the banker forgave their loans and gave them ownership of their homes.

See? See what I mean? Banks forgiving loans? Selling all you have to give to the poor? Hanging out with the tattooed people, the folks who to go bars, the gamblers, the people who don’t have citizenship cards?

And now he’s getting physical. When he and his followers arrived a couple days ago he came to the temple with a whip and threw over the tables of our money changers and the faithful men selling animals for sacrifices so that the people can worship.

My house shall be called a house of prayer;
but you are making it a den of robbers!

His house?!

But, anyway, that was two days ago...

He’s teaching in the temple now. I’m going to go listen.

God’s world is like a mother who had a child who demanded all his inheritance from her. He took it and ran away and squandered it all, but the mother welcomed him back, forgiving his recklessness, throwing a huge party, she was so happy to be reunited with him again.

[To Jesus] You have gone too far, sir! Who said you could teach these words? Who gave you authority to do these things? It certainly does not come from me or the temple.

Let me ask you a question. And then I will answer yours.


Did John’s baptism come from heaven, or was it just something he did on his own authority?

[back to audience] I can’t answer that! See what I mean about his trickery and causing problems? Whichever way I answer, I lose. If I say that his authority came from heaven, then Jesus will ask me why I didn’t believe him.

I grow tired of the arguing. I wish these people would just go away!

But if I say that John was just another in a long line of crazy men who only think they speak for God, I know the people will rise up against me because they think he was a prophet! I’m stuck either way.

[sighing] And it’s Passover, there are thousands of visitors here, crowding the city and creating a tinderbox ready to go off at any moment. The Romans are breathing down my neck to keep things under control and make sure a riot doesn’t break out, while the terrorists – the zealots – are threatening to rise up against the Romans... and now this to deal with. There is no good way to answer this question.

[Pause a moment; then, to Jesus] I don’t know.

Then I won’t answer your question.


Think about this: There was a factory owner who had two children. He said to the oldest one, his daughter, “I need you to go work today and watch over the factory.” She said, “No. I don’t want to. I have other plans. Tell my brother to go.” So the father went to the son and said, “I need you to go to work today and watch over the factory.” He said, “Yes, sir, I will. I was going to go out today with a friend, but I’ll cancel and go to work.” And yet, when the father came later to the factory, his son was not there and had not been there. And his daughter, the one who had refused to go, was there working diligently.

So I ask you, which of the two children did the will of their father?

The daughter. Even though she said she would not go, she did. Her actions are more important than her words.

And so I say to you that the prostitutes, the poor, the prisoners, all these people you say that I should not be with, they will go to God’s house before you do.

When our people were thirsty in the desert after being led to freedom from slavery under Egypt, God provided them water through the prophet Moses. Now the people are thirsty again, but this time thirsty for life and justice from you, from Rome, from every one keeping them down. As Moses provided water in the desert, I provide water to sooth the thirst of their oppression. Perhaps if you spent more time listening to them instead of talking to them, you would know.

John came to you, baptizing in the hope and love of God, and yet you did not believe him. But these people, these whom you scorn: the tax collectors, the terrorists, the people you try to hide behind barriers, or in projects away from your nice homes so you don’t have to see them, or enclose in fences, these people believed!

And even after you saw all this, you still have not changed your minds or your hearts.

The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

[looks at Jesus in silence for a moment; then to audience] See? See what he says and does?! Outrageous! Disruptive!

Like I said, unbelievable!

You don’t believe him, do you? Do you?

What do you think?

[walk off stage]

Friday, September 26, 2014

God's Gifts - sermon from September 21, 2014. Parable of the Landowner.

Jesus has just had an encounter with a young rich man asking Jesus "How can I be perfect?" Jesus tells him that he (the young rich man) must sell all he owns and give it to the poor. The young man walks away, sad. We never know if he follows Jesus' instructions or not, but we do know that Jesus immediately launches into this parable in which he compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a landowner who pays all his workers a full day's wages, whether they started work in the morning or in the late afternoon. 

It will be helpful to read the scripture lesson first (available in the link just below).

What do you think of a "Kingdom of Heaven" as being like a landowner in which all are paid a day's wages? Would you like to see that manifest today in our world - and if so, what would that look like? Please offer your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

“God’s Gifts!”
Sermon, Year A, Proper 20, September 21, 2014
Plymouth United Church of Christ, Eau Claire, WI
© Rev. David J. Huber
Focus Scripture: Matthew20:1-16

God is a generous God. A God of giving. A God who is generous beyond what is sensible. In the benediction we will use the phrase “God’s strange generosity”. I used that in the Greetings today as well. God’s strange generosity. It is generosity at a level to which we often fear to trek. Which we are often afraid to achieve, or hesitant to strive for.

We hear about God’s generosity in this passage. I think we also hear Jesus talking subtly here about gratitude as well. But I am talking about gratitude today, but talking about God’s generosity. We read this parable last Lent when we had our Soup and Scripture series on Wednesday nights, when we were talking about parables of the Kingdom of Heaven (which is the phrase that the writer of Matthew’s Gospel uses), or Realm of God, Commonwealth of God, whatever you want to call it. So think of these parables as Jesus saying also, “This is what God is like. This is God’s vision of what a right and just way is of forming community. This is what a godly world looks like.”

In this one, it’s a community of generosity and abundance. Of enough for everyone. We live in a world of abundance. We often talk about scarcity and not enough resources, but it’s a world of abundance! There is enough for everyone. We just don’t distribute it as well as we could, or as well as we should. We live in a world of abundance because it is God’s world, and God is a God of abundance and generosity.

“I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.” There is abundance in that phrase. There is enough for everyone. But also in this is not a call for excess. Or that prosperity belief. I think there is in this parable a kick in the teeth to the prosperity gospel. God doesn’t just keep heaping riches and wealth upon us at the expense of other people, or because we please God. But we are in a world of abundance. This is also a kick in the teeth of our American capitalist Protestant work ethic that says “Work, work, work, earn, earn, earn”, but God works on a mantra of “No, it’s about give! Give, give, give, be generous, give.”

We see it in the Exodus story that we read as well. God provides the meat and the manna. Provides enough for everyone. And only enough. Just enough. God doesn’t allow people to take too much, and doesn’t allow people to take too little. Those who take too much end up with their excess being spoiled. We didn’t read that far into the story, but those with excess manna wake up the next day to find that the excess has spoiled. “Worms in the Bread.” Those who take too little find that their jars are filled until they have enough. And the employer in the parable here offering a day’s wages. That’s enough money to exist for a day. To eat and maintain life for one day. He pays that to all the workers whether they worked a full day or a partial day. He gives them a full day’s wages regardless of how much they worked. Because no matter how much they worked, for them to survive for that day, they need a day’s wages. So they deserve to live for that day. God’s world is one in which no one goes hungry, no one is homeless, no one goes without, no one suffers from lack of resources. This is the God who, on the night before we crucified him, said “This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you.” That is not a god who withholds, but one who gives! Who gives far beyond what is sensible.

This generous God. God is a giving God. That’s God’s nature. Giving manna in the wilderness. Love and grace through Jesus. Giving us the Holy Spirit. And what God does in our daily lives. Making the corn, the wheat, the cranberries grow. Makes flowers grow and bloom and give us beauty. Makes the cattle give milk, and give birth to other cattle. All other animals giving birth. Giving children to us. All this generosity of God. And also in that generosity is that every 24 hours God gives us another gift: a new day. A brand new day. Morning has broken. It is a new day. A chance to start over. A new beginning. A new opportunity. The mistakes, failures, the pain of yesterday is all in the past. Let it go. God gives us a new day to become a new person. God gives us this gift of a new and fresh start with a chance to try something new or readjust our lives. We always have this new day. This new chance to embrace God’s gift of life. Abundant life. Grace and love.

And to know that God doesn’t care so much if we arrived very early and have put in a full day’s work and with our lives in order, living good and well. Or if we have come late to the field. Or even if we haven’t gotten that far yet. Wherever we are on our journey – came late, came early, haven’t started at all yet – God loves us all the same amount. God’s love for everyone is equal. God loves us equally. “I choose to give this last the same as I give to the first.”

It is a reward... well, let’s not say that. I don’t like the word “reward” because it implies that we’ve earned it, that we’ve done something to gain it... so let’s say, “God loves us equally, and that’s God’s gift. God’s gift.”

It is not our reward, it is God’s gift to us. That’s the radical nature of God’s love. God’s generous gift to us. God’s strange generosity is that we are loved as we are. Equally. And with all of creation. All that God has made, regardless of the awful things we have done, and also – and I think is the radical break with tradition that Jesus often makes, the bold step that Jesus makes – is also that God’s gift of love comes to us regardless of the wonderful things that we have done. Regardless of the awful things we’ve done, regardless of the wonderful things we’ve done, God loves us. Because God is generous. God’s love, manna from heaven, all that we have, the fruits and vegetables of the earth, the water that we drink, each new morning... is a gift! Not a reward, not a pay off, not a payment, not a salary, not a wage, not an enticement. Just... a gift. Because that’s who God is, and that’s how God is. God is generous, giving, loving.

A gift.

Today I woke up. What a gift! A chance to start over and let go of whatever pain we might have, or suffering, guilt, shame, whatever it is. Today, I woke up! What a gift.

Today is a new day. Morning has broken. Great it with hope. A tabula rasa, an empty page to begin again. “I choose to give to the last the same as I give to you.”


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

God's Realm is Built Out Of Forgiveness

My sermon from Sunday, September 14. The scripture lesson from Genesis was Joseph forgiving his brothers, and the lesson from Matthew is Jesus answering Peter's question about how many times a person needs to forgive another. I touch on the importance of us offering forgiveness - especially to ourselves - but most of this sermon explores the idea that Jesus is also talking very much about what God is like. Jesus never tells us to do something or live in a way that is not being modeled already by God. 

What do you think of when you hear the word "forgive"? How forgiving do you think God is? Are there things that we can do that are unforgivable, either by another human, or perhaps even by God?

“God’s Realm is Built of Forgiveness”
Sermon, Year A, Proper 19, September 14, 2014
Plymouth United Church of Christ, Eau Claire, WI
© Rev. David J. Huber
Focus Scripture: Matthew18:21-35 

After reading this scripture lesson, which is definitely about forgiveness, I don’t want to go off in the direction of saying that this is all about how YOU have to offer forgiveness for everything. Although I do think forgiveness is a very good thing and is important for us to do. Part of our vocation as followers of Jesus is that we are to forgive. It is one of the more important things that we do, and I challenge you to be more forgiving. And often, forgiving has more to do not so much with releasing the burden from, say, someone who has hurt you. But forgiveness is good for the forgiver: to let go. To take the pain or anger or whatever out of our hearts and say, “I’m not going to live with that any more. I’m going to let that go and move on.”

But if there can be forgiveness with reconciliation, with a spouse, parent, child, co-worker, fellow church member... if there can be reconciliation than that’s even better. To come back into relationship is a wonderful thing. But sometimes that can’t happen. Someone has abused or hurt too much that maybe you don’t want to be in a relationship with that person any more. Or if the person who hurt you is dead and there can’t be reconciliation. Forgiveness is a way of saying, “I’m not going to live in the past any more. I’m not going to carry that baggage and let it rule or control my life any more.”

And especially so if the person that you need to forgive is yourself. To not live in the past. To let it go. God forgives you, so let it go.

There is that lesson in this scripture passage that I read. But what I am really thinking of today is not so much our own responsibility or our own call to be forgiving people. Sometimes to tell people that they ought to be more forgiving is a way of piling on guilt as well. It can be an unforgiving attitude.

What has hit me, and what I have been thinking of as I have read scripture this week, is this way of living that Jesus sets up here. Not just saying “YOU have to forgive”, but that Jesus is offering us a way of life. He sets up an incredibly radical rubric of a life based on forgiveness. Even just to say that you should forgive is a pretty radical kind of statement. We don’t like to talk about forgiveness in our greater society a whole lot. We like to talk about retribution, punishment, holding on to anger, being self-righteously right. So even if Jesus had said to forgive once, that would have been pretty radical. But he doesn’t say that. He doesn’t say forgive once. He doesn’t say to forgive twice. Or to forgive seven times. He says to forgive 77 times, or we could also translate it here as 7 times 70 times. Jesus says to forgive 77, or 7x70 times.

When Jesus is talking, whether it be forgiveness in this case, or feeding the hungry, or showing mercy, or serving the poor, or healing people. He’s not just saying what we HAVE to do. He’s not just saying, “YOU have to do this.” He’s setting up a vision, an example, he’s showing us, talking about the realm of God or the Commonwealth of God. He’s saying, “This is what God is like.” Not just something for us, that we have to do; but saying that this is what God is like. This is what God does. “And now that you have seen and heard what God is like, now the decision is up to you. How are you going to live? But I will set up this vision so you know what God looks like.”

So it isn’t just Jesus saying to us that to “get into heaven” or to be right with God you have to forgive X amount of times. The number that he picks here is not a specific number, but it’s a number that means “a lot.” The number he uses here is an exaggeration. He’s saying, “This is what God’s realm looks like. This is what God is like. God will forgive 77 times, or 7x70 times.” It’s a hyperbolic number, not an absolute number. Seven is a holy number. 77 a holy number, 7x70 a holy number. This is just a big number. We can read it as meaning “unlimited.”

What is God like? Unlimited forgiveness. More forgiveness than you think is reasonable. Way more than whatever you think might be reasonable. Way way way way way way way more than any of us might ever think is reasonable or sensible an amount to forgive. That’s how God forgives. That’s how loving God is. To go way, way beyond whatever we might think in our human thinking is sufficient and a good ending point. Whatever point we might think that we can go, “Well, you know, I gave it a shot, I forgave this many times and nothing has happened, nothing has changed.” Jesus is saying that’s not even a good beginning yet. God hasn’t even begun with that few times. God’s desire to forgive and to love is so beyond our imaginations.

And whatever God looks like, whatever God’s commonwealth looks like, then that is also to be the model for the Church. It is a model of what the Church ought to look like. Whether it is Plymouth, or the Church worldwide. It is what we ought to be about as well. To love and to forgive as much as what Jesus sets up here as a model of God’s vision. Our vocation as followers of Jesus is to create community that looks like God. To be god-like. And part of that community, you can see from these words of Jesus, is to be a community of unlimited and relentless and radical forgiveness. To be forgiving of one another. To invite people in to this community. To say to people who are beaten down by the world around them, invite them in, and let them experience and know a forgiving God. To let them know that however imperfect we are at forgiving, however imperfect we are at loving, God is not imperfect. “Come into our circle and know that you are forgiven, which means that you are loved and that you are beloved. Come and know that with God you are worthy. You are okay. You measure up.”

Our message to the world of love and mercy is born out partly through forgiveness. Through being forgiven. Our message entrusted to us to speak and live is that forgiveness is better than retribution. Forgiveness is better than violence. Forgiveness is better than hate. Forgiveness is better than just holding on to you anger or your hurt as though that makes you more righteous by not forgiving. By not letting that other person win. But as long as you hold on to that, they ARE winning! You’re life is not as full or good. Forgiveness is better than hurtful comments or dehumanizing speech, whether it is in real life, or on Facebook, on the comments section of an article on the web. There is no much non-forgiveness in the world. It’s hurting people. It’s hurting us as a species and as a world community.

Forgiveness is so important.

So maybe we can’t fix the worlds problems. We can’t make God’s realm appear at the end of the week or even by the end of the millennium. But we can live into the vision that Jesus showed us. The vision of God’s realm showering love and mercy. By being a community which values these virtues. By community meaning this church, Plymouth Church, which we are all part of. Being a community here in which people find forgiveness of one another’s mistakes and especially forgiveness for ourselves.

Sometimes it can be more difficult to forgive ourselves than to forgive someone else. To forgive our own mistakes, our own errors, than it is to forgive the hurts that others have done to us.

But know this: you ARE forgiven! You can let it go.

And we – the church – can be a respite from a world that says that we don’t measure up. That’s the message we hear from advertising all the time, and hear from other places, that we don’t measure up. We’re too fat or too thin. Or we have the wrong body shape, or we’re too obsessed with our body. Our homes aren’t clean enough, big enough, or we don’t live in the right neighborhood. We don’t send our kids to the right schools. We don’t wear the right clothes or drive the right car. All these messages about how we don’t measure up. So much telling us that we are not worthy.

All those toxic messages that we hear.

And in this frenzy of harsh messages that beat us down and that hammer our souls, we who are followers of Jesus have this message from Jesus that is the antidote to all the harshness. This message of what God is like. To say “Don’t judge by these human measures. Look at the world through God’s eyes.” A message to share with our neighbors, that we invite others to come here to hear and to experience. The message through Jesus that says, “You DO measure up! You ARE worthy! Whatever you have done, whatever you have failed to do, whoever you are, you are worthy! God loves you just as you are. In God’s realm you are loved and you are worth and you matter. You are made in God’s image and are holy, right, and good, and worthy of love. And even if you think you have done something that is unforgivable, it is forgiven, and you are forgiven. Seven times, seventy-seven times, seven times seventy times, and beyond. Because that’s who God is. And that’s how God acts toward us.”

Thanks be to God!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

I wrote a letter to friends on 9-11-01 after walking home

Letter to friends and family and the world 

This is a letter I sent to my friends on Tuesday, Sept. 11, after returning home from my long walk from the World Trade Center. 

To all my friends who have inquired already, and those who might be wondering about the events in NYC this terrible day, I send this note. I thank you for the many messages and phone calls you have offered to me and to my sister and to Yuki to find out if I was safe.

Coming home from the World Trade Center and finding so many emails and phone messages was a real delight, although as we know, the circumstances were not good. But rest assured, I did escape without injury.

I had always wondered just how long it would take to walk between work and 139th street where I live, and now I know: about 4 hours. Work is *not* within walking distance. I began work as normal this morning about 8:00 am in World Financial Center Building 3, which is across the street from the World Trade Center Tower 2, the first building to be hit by terrorists.

As we watched from our office window the flames and smoke pour out from that first strike in Tower 2, our thought was simply that a very unfortunate - but possible - accident had taken place. Fairly unworried, we sort of went back to be about our work, though many of us continued to watch CNBC on the many monitors that are placed around the trading floor, and which some poeple have on their TVs on their desks.

After the second plane hit, we realized it was intentional, and called for the evacuation of our building. Though we could see the damage fairly well through our windows, we still did not have a good sense of just how terrible it was. I left our building and headed north a block or two. As I was walking through a group people watching the towers, I heard the sudden intake of breath and horrified gasps. I turned around, and witnessed a person - a fellow human being - jumping out of a window from near the top of the tower. That was just the first jumper I was to see.

It was a sickening feeling, knowing that for those people, jumping was probably the most painless and hopeful way to die, as they were certainly trapped at the top with no hope of getting out. I think of those people's families, and shudder and recoil at this senseless murdering. I do not wish to ever be witness to such a thing again.

I soon came across Claire, a woman with whom I work, who needed to take the ferry across the river to get to New Jersey. We walked back to the Ferry, which is located on the other side of the building I work in, and has a full - and close - view of both towers. Thankfully, she managed to get onto the ferry and it left the dock just as the first building collapsed. It was an incredible sight - though it is diffuclt to describe something which is, ultimately, such a horrible thing. It was loud, it was scary, and created a cloud of debris and dust that went much higher than the 45 story building I work in. The crowd who were gathered there, including me, once we realized what was happening, ran like hell, and I don't mind saying that to you all. [Though I soon realized the danger of running in a crazy crowd, so stood off to the side].

I followed the advice of the police who were shouting constantly "Don't look, just go North!!!!!" I went North, and didn't look back, until I hit about 20th street. Being more than a mile away, I felt safe turning around to look. After a few seconds I was witness to the destruction of the second tower. That tower came down in two parts - first the top slid down, and when the dust cleared just enough to see an angled portion of the tower left, broken beams and metal sticking up like a building you might see in an "end of the world" movie, the angled part also slid down, with a mighty roar and another fantastic plume of smoke. I continued walking north, and did not rest too easy until I was north of the Empire State Building. Beginning at about 50th street (or as we New Yorkers would say, beginning in the 50s), life around me became more normal. People were gathered in parks, mothers and fathers were pushing their children in strollers, people ate at outside cafes. Of course, it only makes sense, but after coming from the chaos of the World Trade Center, it was surreal.

As I walked through the 60s and then the 70s, the amount of "normal life" increased, until perhaps about the high 70s, when one would have no idea, in watching people, that something had happened, though many people carried radios with them, and did have stunned looks about them. But there was no panic, no running, no crying, no police officials like I had been immersed in earlier in the morning. Still shaken, and occasioanlly realizing that I had just watched two buildings be destroyed, I moved into Riverside Park, to enjoy some quiet and some nature along the river. It was a horrible thing what happened today, and though I wasn't totally at ground zero, and managed to avoid any of the smoke and dust, watching those magnificent towers, those giant, tall, admittedly eye-stain-ugly late-60s architecture towers go down was stunning. Not stunning like a diamond, but stunning as in "I was stunned". I still am stunned.

I can barely comprehend these towers, which I have linked with NYC for so many years, are gone. And not just gone, but actually attacked with intent to destroy by people who have no value for life. To think of the loss of life, which must be in the thousands between the innocents on the airplanes, the innocents in the towers, and the fireman who were in the buildings trying to help people out when they collapsed.

I am not quite sure what to think of this event, or how to feel about it. It is one thing to watch disaster strike from afar; quite another to be in it, and to realize that it happened here in the US, where such things have not happened before. Random bombing and exloding is something for Isreal or Palestine, or London, Afghanistan, Africa or Europe. But not here. Not in the US. And certainly not in my workplace.

I am confused and still in shock, and have finally turned off the radio, as I couldn't take listening to the news any more.

My prayers go out to those who were trapped in the buildings, and trapped in the airplanes. My prayers go out to their families. My prayers also go out to those who did this, and those who would like to have done this. Though their act was evil incarnate, and they must be brought to justice swiftly and surely, and though we must do what is necessary to guarantee to the best of our ability that this not happen again, still our prayers must be with them, and especially with the rest of their cabal. Jesus certainly taught us to pray for our enemies and those who would do us harm. Pray for them, that they might come to know truth and peace.

And of course I pray for all of us, those of us who will spend much time wondering if we are safe, wherever we are. Always wondering.

I pray that you are all angry about this, but I pray that our anger be the anger of good toward evil, the anger that serves as our energy to drive us into constructive action, and not the senseless anger that cries merely for revenge and offers no real solution. Let us be angry! I'm angry as hell - they almost killed me, and they did kill a lot of innocents! Senselessly, brutally, for no reason that any human could comprehend. let us be outraged! Let us be righteously shocked! let us call for our leaders to swiftly destroy this evil wherever it is, and to eliminate it forever.

But let us also do so with hearts and mind open, and not be a mob that does not reflect on its actions, and that quashes evil with only more evil in the name of "good". Be a force for good, and pray for us and for our country that our actions will be done in mindfulness, with full understanding of what we are about to do, and not out of the mindlessness of a berserker who simply smashes and hacks at anything that gets in his way.

I do not know when I will be able to return to work. I do not even know how much, if any, damage my building suffered, though I imagine it lost the windows and is filled with with a thick coating of dust at the least. I heard on the radio that later this afternoon another building went down, though I doubt it was mine, since the Towers, if you look at one of the good maps, has numerous smaller buildings immediately next to them. But who knows how much collateral damage might still happen in the next couple days.

I am praying for you all, and for us, and for this country, and for our world at this time.

Let us give thanks for what we have, and for those who escaped the clutches of violence.

I am grateful - very grateful - that I was led out of the violence unhurt and unscathed. And let us pray for God's presence to heal and to strengthen us, to unite us, and to bind us together in love and peace like the children of God that we all are, that war may no longer be known by any child or adult.

I leave you all with a fitting quote from a good friend of mine that my random quote generator popped up when I opened this email.

"In a land where ignorance is a virtue, the blind man is king" - Joe Raposo, Statesman and composer, August 27, 2001 

Blessings to you all,