St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

A Reflection on September ll


by Fr. Rodney Torbic

On September 11, the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania joins Orthodox Churches around the world in commemorating the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. This commemoration occurs every year.

Many Orthodox Christians were in the Holy Divine Liturgy two years ago when the terrorist attack on the United States took place. The faithful came from the Holy Liturgy to learn of the tragic deaths of so many people.

During the ensuing two years many people have continued to die as the United States tries to deal with the issue of terrorism in the world. We pray in the Holy Liturgy for peace. We pray for the peace of the whole world.

This year as last year when we come together to remember the Beheading of St. John the Baptist our minds will turn once again to those who have suffered, for those who have died at the hands of terrorists.

We are mindful also of the men and women serving in the military who are in harms way. We are mindful of their families in the United States and elsewhere.

We are mindful of the loss of life in Iraq. We are mindful of the continued loss of life in the Middle East. We are mindful of the loss of life in Kosovo.

St. John the Baptist died a gruesome death. He was beheaded at the command of Herod. (Mt. 14:1-12) Our Lord Jesus Christ said "among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." (Mt. ll:ll) September ll is a day to consider St. John's death and the good people who have died tragic deaths through the centuries.

The Psalmist tells us to seek peace and pursue it (Ps. 34:14). In the midst of the violence raging in different parts of the world, peace seems elusive.

We must remind ourselves that God is still in control of the world. We must remind ourselves that events unfold as God would have them unfold. In the end, evil does not triumph. Good triumphs.

God created the world. God governs the world. To understand world events, we must study God and the way of God.

Our minds may be too small to fully understand all that is happening. It is hard to put into perspective current world events given the age of the world. People living today have lived only a small portion of the history of the earth.

Our first hand experience with world events is limited to the age of our lives. Century after century has preceeded the present. An accurate world perspective requires the mind of God. Only God has that mind.

In prayer, in fasting, in reading the Holy Scriptures, we can seek to understand God. We can seek to understand the events we face in contemporary times.

Let us place our confidence in the goodness and mercy of God. God does not disappoint those who put their trust in Him. Death did not defeat the Crucified Christ. The darkness of Holy Friday was superceded by the brightness of the Resurrection.

People of faith look forward to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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