There very few normal work days that I can recall like I do the 12th September five years ago. I had recently been given a job which meant I made the sluggish journey to Auckland three or four times a week. Typically I travelled before sunrise, but this day was not a normal day. As I steered the bulky green station-wagon north there was an endless chatter about only one topic on the radio. In the shadow of the Sky Tower I get out of my car to a radiant blue sky and hear some jet engines whine in the distance which immediately connected my thoughts to the sky in New York just hours earlier. What if?
Five years on and the anniversary of 911 brings with it repeat after repeat of the planes flying into the building or the towers collapsing. How hard it must be for the families of the dead to see those images again and again and again. Time after time the media replay the murder of their loved ones on TV. Oddly however, year after year we are drawn to the images, to the viewpoints, to the speculation of what is next. The world is not the same place it was when around 2800 people died in the US that day, merely ask the citizens of the now "liberated" and "democratic" state of Iraq, who have lost over 40,000 civilian family members in this war on terror.
The world is not the same, nevertheless it is exactly as it has been for thousands of years. Well meaning people and governments and religions are doing things that they think will make the world a better place, while all the time forcing their rules for living on the rest of the world. We see it in Christianity all of the time, people go around telling people how to live, or more to the point tell them what not to do, and forget that perhaps God made us for relationships. I heard this pastor friend of mine talking about the bible over the weekend and what it tells us about loving our neighbours. He sort of said that we have to be deeply compassionate for the needs of people around us, and how the question is not who is my neighbour, but who can I be a neighbour to?
All this got me thinking about creation and I wondered if most well meaning Christian people have missed the point. What if Christianity could be summed up like this? Love God and love People with everything you have. What if this whole Christianity thing is about relationships, deep, authentic, caring relationships? Imagine if people with nothing to offer could actually have a relationship like that with God, then He taught them how to truly live and to have deep, authentic relationships with people.
You know what, I think that would be the kind of Christianity I would want to be a part of…