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Dr. Tanner Reflects on 12th Anniversary of Sept. 11


Dr. Beth LaNeel Tanner is Professor of Old Testament at NBTS. She is known for her work on the psalms and Hebrew poetry and offers the following reflection on the 12th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001.

"Today marks the 12th year since we awoke on a beautiful morning when creation was once again at its glorious peak and it was "very good." As the events of that day unfolded, disbelief, terror and sorrow bent even the strongest knees. The words of Psalm 22 describe our visceral response, "I am poured out like water, and all of my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast." Each report, each picture further dismantled life as we knew it.

Today we will not stop our labors. The buses will roll and the planes will fly. Yet in the midst of what appears to be normal life, we will all mourn. We will voice silent screams for the pain has never quite healed. Our hearts will again feel like wax melting in our chests. What comfort can be found, especially as we stand again on the precipice of war?

Today let's remember another time when the world shined under their feet. It was also a time of war. Babylonians did not come with a quick attack but instead surrounded the city of Jerusalem and waited for them to starve. The army came over the walls, destroyed the city, its homes and its Temple. Lost, everything lost. God's house burned to the ground. Thousands dead. First there were the tears recorded in the psalms and Lamentations. Then something new came from the broken rubble. From that old Priestly groupthe ones who brought us Leviticus and its thousands of rules. They began to re-­-imagine how to go on. They wrote Genesis 1, not as a statement of scientific fact, but as a loud declaration of faith, of belief in a good God and a good creation. The worst had come, but God was good. God created the universe and all that is in it. Destruction was not answered with more destruction but with a memory of creation and its beauty. They changed the equation. Genesis 1 confirms evil is not the last word for we are created in God's image. Today, thousands of years later, they send us the same message.

God is good. Humanity is good. Believe and you, too, can change the equation and see the creation in the midst of the broken world."

-­- Dr. Beth LaNeel Tanner, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

Read more about Dr. Tanner here




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