Response to World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks

September 12, 2001

by Robert Nguyen Cramer


God bless the dear people at the New York World Trade Center, at the U.S. Pentagon, and in the four hijacked airliners. God bless the brave firemen and firewomen, rescue workers, and police. And God bless the families, the colleagues, the friends, and the nation. Having been only a few blocks from the World Trade Center throughout the entire time of the two attacks and the first two building implosions, I join in encouraging all people to pray for all those whose lives were touched by this tragedy, to provide whatever tangible support and aid possible, and to pray for the perpetrators of the horrible acts of terrorism. [1]

In Christ we all are made new, each day, each moment. As Paul writes:

As if speaking to the terrorists, Paul continues on to write:

Since we are "a new being" in Christ,

This is a solid basis for reassurance, compassion, and strength. It is also a solid basis for 'forgiving anything we may have against anyone' (Mar 11:25), which we know to be a prerequisite for and crucial element of prayer.

I am reminded of when I served as a juror in a murder trial. As a juror my civic responsibility was to judge the evidence. As a Christian my responsibility was to pray for everyone involved, including the one who had died, the one on trial, the families, and the community. My silent prayers included repeated Christian forgiveness of the one whom we ultimately determined by the evidence to be guilty, and those prayers for him and all others continued long after the trial had ended. [2]

Those who planned and carried out such acts need to be brought to justice, need to recognize their horrendous crimes, and need to be appropriately sentenced for their terrible deeds, but we individually still need to forgive them. In such forgiveness, as "a new being" in Christ -- a Christian's true reality -- we can celebrate that in Christ we and all those dear ones mentioned above are not subject to any power other than God. Rather than being victims, "We have complete victory through him who loved us" (Rom 8:37, TEV), just as Christ Jesus had complete victory over the evil of his persecutors through the Father's unceasing love. Evil is powerless in the presence of the omnipotence of God, who is Love -- and in the presence of His children’s living representation of God’s love.

G.B. Caird described this victorious love in his wonderful commentary on Saint Luke (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963, page 103-105), where he wrote about the "Law of Love" taught by Jesus in Luk 6:27-38:

Grateful for God's love for us all,

Bob Nguyen Cramer,


[1] The building on Wall Street in which I was working at the time is still standing, but the impact of the airliners crashing into the World Trade Center towers and those towers later coming down was thunderously felt and heard by all of us in that building. It was as dark as midnight outside after each of the towers imploded. Daylight was completely blocked by the airborne debris, which roared through the canyon-like streets like a tornado and contained what none of us could ever have imagined.

At around 2 p.m., after making my way to a pier near Wall Street, I took an evacuation ferryboat to Hoboken, New Jersey. When the ferryboat left the dock, none of us was certain where we were going to land. All we knew was that it was headed away from the World Trade Center and to New Jersey. As part of the decontamination process, we were required to walk through a car-wash like tent where a special multi-directional sprinkler sprayed us down with what appeared to be water.

Throughout the week, a thought that has been repeatedly coming to mind is that God is the only true power to which we all are subject. Frequently praying the Lord's Prayer has also continued to provide me with a reality check.

[2] Several months after the jury trial, I began serving as a Christian Science prison chaplain in one of the most violent cities in America. I continued to pray in this way, while also helping inmates to see the necessity for honestly exposing, acknowledging, and repenting from their grave wrongs and to seize the opportunity of finding a new life and true reality in Christ. Within three months of my beginning that ministry I discovered that I had been completely healed of a very threatening physical condition that had persisted and deteriorated for over ten months. (I was very seriously struggling with that condition during the aforementioned trial.) God is the great Healer, which my forgiving prayers for inmates helped to make plain in my own life.

[3] More of Dr. Caird’s explanation of Luk 6:27-38 can be read at His commentary on Saint Luke is out of print, and very difficult to obtain.

To explore other relevant links, browse "Overcoming violence, terrorism, and revenge" at

Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer