Acts 2:46,47 "Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people."

What happened? Something did! We cannot pretend a "before" and "after" did not happen! If we try to hide it, it haunts us. Things are different, and we know it--and it is more than disliked change! It is like being frustrated and (a) not knowing what to blame OR (b) blaming the wrong things.

Whose fault is it for changing life? We want things to be the same--but they are not. We prefer "life like it was"--but it is not. We prefer the old problems, not the new ones confronting us--but we cannot choose which set intrudes in our lives and forces decisions.

9/11 has been over-worked, over-analyzed, over-blamed, and over-discussed. It is not the "ghost in the closet" to blame all bad things on. It was a transition point, not a creator. It did not create the cracks. It merely exposed them by giving everyone x-ray vision. It put the stress and strain on existing fractures to transform hair-line factures into obvious breaks. Now we are forced to examine obvious ugliness honestly.

Before 9/11, when we were told the world was shrinking, most said, "It is the same size it always has been." When we were told that evil was a real force in this world, most said, "No it's not!" When we were told there were those who hated us so much they would gladly kill us, most said, "That cannot be right--we are the world's good guys." When we were told that some people regarded influence from American culture as disastrous, most said, "What are they talking about?" When we were told that societies devoted to religious rule considered us a society of atheists, most said, "Ridiculous! We have church buildings all over the place!"

Oh, how 9/11 changed the answers, not the questions! Had "in church" surveys been conducted prior to 9/11, members would say, "Our hope is in God and our dependence is on God!" After 9/11, we find ourselves trying to define hope and dependence. We do not like being forced to do that. Perhaps we are forced to acknowledge the unthinkable--we were more materialistic in our hope and dependence than we cared to admit. As long as our lifestyle, security, future, opportunities, and materialistic ambitions were intact, our hope was in God on Whom we depended. Placing hope in and dependence on God was one thing. Changing our lives is quite another issue! Before 9/11 the two subjects were minimally related. After 9/11 we wonder.

In a world filled with uncertainty, injustice, and poverty, the first people who understood God's action in Jesus were filled with an incredible joy. Because the world was no longer uncertain? No! No longer unjust? No! Poverty was eradicated? No! Then why? They understood a purposeful God was active in the affairs of humans producing salvation. Their joy was not humanity-based, pleasure-based, possession-based, or money-based. Their joy was God-based. So, where is our joy? Is there a connection between being God's light, salt, and leaven in an uncertain world and finding joy in God?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 29 August 2004

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell