September 9, 2011

Where were you September 11, 2001? I suspect that if you were old enough, the details of that day are still vivid. I remember clearly where I was when I heard the news. Like many, I watched on television as the Twin Towers fell. But that is one of the odd things about 10 year anniversaries. The US has had over 40 million births in the past ten years, and millions more would have been too young to remember that fateful day. What for me is a vivid memory is another’s history lesson. 9/11 is a day to remind people of the lessons of the past.

My parents had a day that stood vividly in their memories too —December 7, 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor led to war, but at Pearl Harbor’s ten year anniversary, that war was over. Our country’s soldiers still find themselves in harm’s way on foreign fields. 9/11 is a day to pray for peace.

9/11 was a day of heroic action by ordinary people. Firemen ran into burning buildings to save others and perished. Ordinary airline passengers thwarted a terrorist plot to fly a plane into one more Washington D.C. target at the cost of their lives. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is selfless acts in the face of fear. Such acts spring from love and a proper sense of duty. 9/11 is a day to be reminded of self-sacrifice.

Like many others, my sermon on September 16, 2011 was from Psalm 46. God is our refuge and strength even if the mountains be thrown into the sea. Since 9/11, I have thought many times about where is safe. We have witnessed other terrible days. And there is nothing to prevent terrible days from coming — accidents, illnesses, natural disasters, or the senseless deeds of evil. Safe is not found in a particular place on this planet. Safe is not found in a particular time. Safe is found in God who is our refuge even if that means “the earth gives way.” 9/11 is day to remind ourselves of our true security.

In the aftermath of 9/11 churches saw an increase in attendance. People wondered if there was a spark of revival. Yet, it was short-lived. A few months later everything was back to normal. If there is one change from that event that I wish would have remained and even grown, that is it. I’m convinced that “unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). I’m convinced that a nation’s strength is in part measured by its moral and spiritual strength. 9/11 is a day to pray for revival.