Ten Years ago, 19 men acting in the name of their god made history and changed a nation. 19 men acting in the name of their god killed over 2900 civilians, caused the longest military conflict in our nation’s history, and caused economic losses upward of 1.4 Trillion Dollars. 19 men acting in the name of their god made mothers explain to children why daddy wasn’t coming home. 19 men acting in the name of their god caused the greatest attack on US soil.
The events of 9/11/01 made heroes out of ordinary people, brought us together as a nation, and defined a generation. They also left many people angry at God, or at least sincerely confused about how the deity they were taught was all-loving and all-powerful could let something so tragic happen to so many. For many, those questions still remain unanswered.
God, however, did not remain silent in the aftermath of the events of September 11th. He spoke: clearly, plainly, unmistakably through his Word to the millions who filled houses of worship where the gospel was proclaimed in its truth and purity. God’s response to the attacks of September 11th was the same message many of us have heard week-in-week-out for as long as we can remember. And in His response to the September 11th attacks, the September 16th message from God was simple: I did not send these 19 men to hurt or harm you; I sent my Son to save you. I do not desire your death; I give you life. I am not punishing you for what you have done; I have forgiven you in the blood of my Son. You may wonder where I was on that Tuesday morning; be assured, I was there then and I am here now!
Ten years have passed since that beautiful September morning was plagued by death and destruction, hate and violence. We have watched other brave men step into harm’s way in our stead half a world away. We have changed how we travel. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent attacks like 9/11 in the future. We have taught a generation what 9/11 meant and still means. We have debated what threat, if any, Islam poses to our “Western” way of life.
It is appropriate that we solemnly remember the events of that day. It is all the more appropriate that we joyfully remember God’s response to the event of that day, spoken from pulpits then as well as now: the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the forgiveness of sins and the promise of resurrection to eternal life.
Pastor Duncan McLellan
Every one of us except the very young remember exactly where we were on a bright crisp September morning that dawned exactly 10 years ago. We remember who we were with. Where we were standing. What we were doing.
Just one minute ago that day, the first of four planes American Airlines Flight 11 left Boston Massachusetts. Within the next 15 minutes, United Airlines Flight 93, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Flight 175 would be in the air. And before the end of this service the first of them would crash into the north tower of the World Trade Center. By the start of our second service the Second Tower would fall and 3,000 lives would be lost and a nation changed forever.
It’s said that Time heals old wounds, but Time doesn’t bring back the lost, heal the hurt, or explain away the existence of Evil. And 10 years later, even after the most hated man in the world has been brought to justice, the questions remain.
On that day of infamy when the heart of Evil was revealed, we remember where we were. Some have wondered, where was God? To which the heart of faith responds, he was there all along. In the heart of the first responders who were running into the buildings when others were trying to get out. In the wrath of the passengers who came to rest in a field in Shanksville after they rose up and fought back with the words, “Let’s Roll”. He was in the rubble with the search and rescue teams seeking the lost. And He wept with the child who’s mom or dad left that morning saying goodbye not knowing it would be for the last time.
More than 2000 years ago, the Son of God ran into the burning building of our human existence and our Sin. And God knew where He was that day. He might well ask us where were we? Where were we when He suffered in the Garden? Was betrayed and deserted by His friends? Was falsely accused, mocked, scourged, and abused...and hung on a Cross alone? He did it all...alone. He paid for the sins of all humanity, for all time, including September 11, 2001...ensuring that none of us would, no matter how bad things may be, ever be ultimately alone. For the message of the Cross and the promise of His resurrection is that He is with us always even to the ending of the world and one glorious day Evil will ultimately be no more.
This is the promise that we celebrate this day even as we remember the bitterness of that morning 10 years ago. And just as we can never and should never forget the darkness of that day, so we should never forget the hope and the promise held out to us in the Word of Life...Jesus Christ our Lord. God with us.