SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–“God is still on his throne in all these tragedies.”
“We can change things because God lives in us.”
“Pray for Muslim people to come to Christ through this.”
“Let’s get down on our knees and ask God to guide us as we seek to respond.”
As Americans sought to cope with devastating terrorist attacks Sept. 11 on some of the nation’s most visible landmarks on the East Coast, students, faculty and staff of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary continued to gather in small groups for prayer, conversations of encouragement and songs of praise to God.
“I continue to wonder about how what I’m doing makes a real difference in the lives of people,” said Yemi Ajimatanraraje, a master of divinity student. “For me, this is a wakeup call to get out and do all I can to share the gospel. There are people all around us who need to hear it.”
That sentiment — along with encouragement to fully trust in God — continued to echo throughout the seminary’s chapel, classrooms and hallways in the days following the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
“We need to be taking stock in the Lord and his kingdom, not in our companies or our own kingdoms,” said Susie Twiggs, a staff member in the seminary’s business office.
Immediately after news of the attacks was reported, seminary President William O. Crews encouraged everyone to spend time in reflection and prayer.
“This is one of the most serious moments in our nation’s history and each of us is affected by it, perhaps more than we yet know,” Crews said. “Our response will be to go to God in prayer because we believe he is sovereign over nations, sovereign over humanity and sovereign over the events that happen in the world.”
Crews led the seminary in an organized time of prayer the next day during the seminary’s regularly scheduled chapel service. He asked participants to share Scriptures, words of encouragement and prayers for everyone involved in the tragic event.
“It is important that stay together and pray together during this time,” Crews said. “Ultimately the only thing that will save the world is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that’s our business; this only accentuates the importance of what we’re about here at Golden Gate Seminary.”
Master of divinity student Tim Royal urged his fellow students to respond first as Christians and second as American citizens. “We as the church are not first and foremost Americans; we are first and foremost children of God,” he said. “The bottom line is that our rock and our fortress is God, not our country.
“We need to place our trust and hearts in God. We need to pray that in these circumstances the people around us will see Jesus,” Royal said.
“This is a very difficult time and prayers are very important,” said Basem Qusous, a master of divinity student at Golden Gate and pastor of the only Arabic Baptist work in San Francisco. “I want to help our people know that our church is not a place for politics but a place for peace.”