by Bob Wickizer

Good News of Great Joy for All the People
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 9:2-4,6-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20
25 December 2001

She never thought of herself as a national figure of hope in the midst of evil, suffering and mourning. In fact on that bright Tuesday morning last September she got up and made breakfast for her two young boys intoning a quiet prayer for her husband she knew was flying from New Jersey to California. By mid morning her world would be torn upside down when Lisa Beamer received a telephone call from her husband on board flight 93. His last words were the Lord’s Prayer followed by a football squad command of “Let’s roll.”

Flight 93 crashed into the Pennsylvania woods instead of the White House.

Now a widow expecting her third child in January, Lisa responded to the question on everyone’s hearts about how CAN we hope in the midst of such evil and terror. She said,

“’Do we have any reason for hope?’ I personally do have hope, even in the midst of my circumstances. What keeps me going is just knowing that this world isn’t all there is, that there’s a bigger reason I’m here. Ultimately God is in control . . . and it’s going to be OK. I keep telling myself that it’s going to be OK.”

In a world where strangers half way around the world can change your life in an instant, where your best friend may disappoint you, where layoffs and cutbacks surround you, where your spouse may let you down and even people in your own church can cause you pain what is THERE that gives you hope? Theologian Paul Tillich referred to God as the “ground of being,” and our very ground has been shaken this year more than any earthquake could ever accomplish.

So in the weeks after September 11, church and synagogue and mosque attendance throughout the United States surged to record levels. For a while it looked like Christmas and Easter attendance every Sunday as people came to places of worship seeking answers in a chaotic and uncertain wo ...

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