From bin Laden to baptism
It's been an eventful week...
On Sunday night, May 1, 2011, President Barrack Obama announced to the nation and world what social media had begun to viralize as news just hours before - that Usama bin Laden was dead. As we now know, he had been killed days earlier on a secret mission by a Navy SEALS unit.
The announcement sent Twitter and Facebook smoking with traffic. The internet was humming with the news as world citizens either celebrated or pontificated on his death.
It didn't take long for American-flag-waving citizens to gather outside the White House, at Ground Zero or in bars around the country. Emotions ranged from extreme jubilation to quiet reflection on how so many could celebrate someone's death.
As a pastor, I wrestled with the implications of it all, as did many other Christians. Some of the best articles I've seen on a biblical response to Osama's death this past week were written by John Piper and Michael Kelley (Michael's entry also links some other thoughtful responses).
I think Proverbs 28:28 has been proven true in the aftermath of 9/11:
When the wicked rise, people hide themselves, but when they perish, the righteous increase.
In the ongoing war on terror, every country has had to "turtle." The world has lost its innocence in the last 10 years due to the manifest hatred of radical Islam. Goodbye Happy Days. Hello TSA.
The shocking news of Osama's death replaced tornados and floods as headliners this week - even though recovery, funerals and grief are so prominent in our nation as a result.
And so the week began.
Today I celebrated the spiritual birth of a new believer. He had come to the U.S. for a special educational program that only lasted two weeks. While here, he was assigned a language partner who goes to our church and shared with him the hope that all peoples can have through a love relationship with Jesus Christ. He believed and surrendered control of his life in faith to follow Christ.
Because he leaves in the wee hours of Sunday, I was contacted by a student to ask if we could baptize him. We readily agreed to do that, and this afternoon, in our portable tub, a small crowd gathered to celebrate new life and obedience.
What a week. Osama bin Laden's death brought closure in so many different ways. But his death cannot give hope. As the student today was immersed in baptism, I celebrated what the death of Christ made possible for all who believe. Hope. Life. Full and eternal.
How was your week?