Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

The 8th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is upon us. There may be a thousand other things now competing for your attention; there certainly are mine. But I wanted to take a moment anyway to remember and grieve, and to encourage you to do so.

I remember...
  • Hearing about what was happening on the radio, having just dropped Marcie off at work and while on the way to the seminary campus.
  • Finding my friend Bryan and the two of us immediately hitting the internet to try to learn what was happening.
  • Realizing with relief that no one I knew well, personally, was a direct victim of these attacks-- but also that more other people than not were in the other position, having lost someone to the attacks.
  • Everyone I knew walking around in a sort of daze for weeks, with no sense of humor or levity seeming appropriate.
  • Finally beginning to feel some sense of healing, after Bryan Chapell preached THIS sermon in chapel.
  • Many of my friends responding with anger, with a sense of vengeance in their hearts.
  • One friend eventually feeling led to obtain a handgun and a concealed-carry permit, so that he might take responsibility to stop others who might perpetuate hate and violence.
  • My heart, on the other hand, being wrung with grief not only for the victims, but for those who committed such acts and organized or called for them; and finding, not vengeance or even outright cold justice, but redemption as the greatest hope that I might have for them.

A number of things have come to pass since then...
  • I had a son just over a year after (on 9/13/2002), and the memories are more filled with joy now than shock and grief.
  • As a culture we've forgotten the unity that was brought about by those events, and have become more fractured than at any time recent memory can recall.
  • Many have continued to be wracked with grief and sadness, unable to overcome the horror of that day.
  • Even within a few years, however, my students at the school where I taught in seminary did not have much memory, if any, of the events of that day.
  • This driving desire in me for redemption and hope of reconciliation that arose in response to these events eventually brought me to where I am today, where I am much closer to being a pacifist than anyone else that I know, and I find myself deeply committed to non-violent solutions.

Still, it is worth remembering the events themselves. Remember the brokenness, beloved, that we might mourn with those who still mourn, and cry with those who still cry. That we might continue to struggle together against the brokenness, and yearn together for redemption and reconciliation. Remember, that we might together long for the soon return of Christ and meet that day in which he will wipe away every tear, and there will be no more mourning.

In case you have forgotten, here is a reminder:

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