Twenty years have passed since the terrorist attack killing 2,750 people in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania. Additionally, all 19 terrorists died as well. A colleague, Rabbi Jonathan Katz, wrote a guest op-ed in the paper yesterday. He titled it “The scar of 9/11 endures – and strengthens us.” In it Rabbi Katz tells a legend of a king who cherished a precious ruby. One day the sovereign’s grandchildren accidentally bumped into a royal cabinet – and jostled the box containing the gem. When the box fell out, the ruby came free and cracked after striking the marble floor. Beside himself, the king sought counsel from his most trusted advisors, but none could offer any. Invited to recommend ways to fix the blemish, local artisans expressed reluctance to attempt a repair – they feared it would only increase the damage to the ruby. Weeks passed. Sullen and secluded, the king was hardly seen. Then one of his subjects got word to the palace that he recalled hearing about an exquisitely talented craftsman who lived in the far-off hill country. The king immediately dispatched his swiftest horsemen to bring him to the palace. When the craftsman was shown the ruby, he said the work would require three days to complete. During this time, the entire kingdom was on edge with the king pacing constantly back and forth in the throne room. Finally, the craftsman emerged from his makeshift studio and presented the jewel to the king to examine. A great silence and apprehension filled the court. But after only a few seconds, the king suddenly turned to his family and advisors and, smiling broadly, exclaimed: “Yes!” What did the craftsman do? He masterfully transformed the crack into the stem of a stunning rose. As a result of the imperfection, the ruby was now more wondrous than before. Rabbi Katz goes on to write, “We, too, possess the power to turn disfigurement into beauty, the scar into blessing; all of us have a role to play in doing so. Yes, 9/11 marks a profound tragedy. But that doesn’t mean it can’t also signify a great redemption as well. All great nations possess scars. How they respond to them is what sets them apart. Despite sometimes grievous infliction, they continue to go from strength to strength, cultivating roses even though the soil appears arid and unyielding. For it is there where seeds of change and reconciliation can be found.”
Scripture Reading Romans 8:28
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
Where were you when you heard about the attack?
What does it mean to turn a scar into a blessing?
How is God using you to work for good?
Prayer: Holy God, fill me with a willing spirit to live each day according to your purpose for my life. Let my presence be a
blessing as I plant the seeds hope. Amen