I was not moving very fast on September 11, 2001. I was eating breakfast and glancing at my calendar for the day when something caught my attention on television. I had the Today Show on but it was basically on in the background. I wasn’t watching very closely. Suddenly the taped portion of the show was interrupted by one of those frightening news bulletins. The live cameras were focused on the twin towers in NYC. It appeared, the newscaster proclaimed, that an airplane had flown into one of the towers. I watched with curiosity but not much alarm. In a few short minutes, I watched in shock as the first tower came forcefully down. I lost any sense of time as I was now glued to the television. I do not remember how long it was when the second tower fell. Then I heard the news that there had been a similar incident at the Pentagon. After this I was pretty numb. There was some sketchy news about a plane that had gone down in Pennsylvania. What was going on?
I emailed Julie at school to let her know of the news that was unfolding before me. I don’t remember much of what I said, but I do remember thinking that this was more than coincidence. In fact I wondered to her if this was “it.” I’m not sure what I meant by that, but it felt like our nation was under attack. What would happen next?
Most of you who lived through that day and the days that followed remember the way our country came to together, united behind the belief that these things were not supposed to happen. There were all sorts of feelings: fear, anger, disbelief and so on. There was a general sense that things had changed. We would never go back to the way things were before.
Now thirteen years later we realize that things did change. Not all of those changes have been for the good. Much of the unity that we experienced soon disappeared. We live under the dark cloud of terrorism. There have been wars fought and lives lost. Anger and fear still hang in the air. That day will never be forgotten.
There is something that has not changed. God is still God. He is sufficient and sovereign. There are bad things that happen in our world. The innocent suffer. There are wars and rumors of wars. None of these are evidence that God is somehow not aware. God is with us. He has called us to be part of the movement that continues to announce that the Kingdom of God draws near. Even when things seem to be spiraling out of control, our faith reminds us that they are not. We are a people of hope. We don’t need to fear. We need to stand firm.
We will never forget. We will never forget that 9/11 day of tragedy. But let us also never forget that our God is strong. He is mighty and He is sovereign. One day all things will be made right and those who bring violence and destruction will stand before a God who will judge all things. In the meantime, let us shine forth with joy, hope, love and an expectation that God’s justice, mercy and love will have the last word.