Trash Cans and Terrorism

Yet, I walked away thinking, “What a different world we live in today.”

M-NYMTA-station-trashcanI am on a train going north from Warwick to Edinburgh after attending the annual conference for the Society for the Study of Theology. I even got to hear N.T. Wright speak! After taking the train to Birmingham Moore Street Station and then walking to New Street Station in Birmingham, I grabbed a cup of coffee (I stopped drinking caffeine two months ago but gave in this morning!) and started toward Platform 6. After stopping at the toilet, I came out and saw a man that was doing janitorial work. I asked him if I could toss my coffee cup (at least it was paper and not plastic) in the trash bin. He said, “Sure.” I then made the light-hearted remark, “I am asking because I cannot seem to find trash cans anywhere in this station.” In a friendly tone, he responded, “Yes, you are right; you will not find many of them because of terrorism.”

Interestingly, the remark made sense and I found myself grateful for this wise decision. Yet, I walked away thinking, “What a different world we live in today.” I am 40 years old (I still can’t believe it) and let’s just say that my children are growing up in a very, very different world than what I grew up in. It can be summed up in the following manner: they are growing up in a post-9/11 world. In some sense, it is sad. My heart is grieved that terrorists have so influenced contemporary life on such a dramatic level that even the presence of trash cans has been affected. But it is what it is and safety is worth minor inconveniences, right?

You are probably reading this wondering what point I am going to eventaully make. Sorry, but I am not sure that I have one today. I am just reflecting. While looking for a trash can, I was reminded of horrendous evil that has (and still is) affected so many lives and families. Let’s be honest: this is not going to change. It is the “new” world that we inhabit though a far cry from the new creation that God has promised and has already begun to break through. We live in the time-between-the-times, the “already” but “not yet” of redemptive history.

May we have peace. May we not fear. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit when danger is present. Actually, the better prayer is, “May we be guided into obedience and faithfulness no matter the situation.” The Lord is so good to us no matter how fast the moral, social, and political forces are spiralling out of control.

The Lord is a rock. Let’s plant our feet on him so that no matter the height of the waves, we can stand firm.

Ephesians 6:13-14a

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then . . .