September 11th. It is a day fixed in our minds forever. It is a date such as December 7th is for those who grew up in the “Greatest Generation.” It is a day we remember where we were, such as that day in Dallas in 1963. It is a day we remember.
But what is it we remember? Is it all about the attack? Is it about the evil perpetrated on our land? Or do we remember the heroic emergency workers trying to save as many lives as possible?
One leads to bitterness while the other leads to healing.
Now I’m not saying we should not remember the attack, and in fact, we must be always vigilant. We need to take steps to keep our nation, our schools, our houses of worship and our homes safe. As a person who lives with the memory of my home being robbed – of my place of safety being distorted – I understand this. Places once thought safe are not anymore. We hear of churches, synagogues and mosques attacked because of hate. We hear of home invasions. We hear of school shootings. And we remember.
Every time one of these tragedies occurs we remember. We remember heroes who ran into the smoke to save others. We remember people who stood up to the aggressor. We remember those who gave all so others may live. And we remember God.
Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, instructed us to remember. He said “do this in remembrance of me.” And that word “remembrance” has power. It is more than just thinking of the events of old, rather it is an ongoing act. To celebrate the Lord’s Supper is to not only call to mind what happened, but to experience for ourselves His presence as we remember.
And God was very present on that eleventh day of September in 2001, as God is present today.
Psalm 46:1-3 – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
On this eleventh day of September 2019, remember. Remember those who lost their lives, remember their families, remember the emergency workers, the police, fire department, the soldiers and all who did (and continue to do) so much for our nation. And remember our Lord who promises to be with us…always.