Some Thoughts on 9/11

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the cloud of the 9/11 attacks has loomed over all Americans. Life as we know it has changed in myriad of ways. Both good and bad, each of us could list them, but I think we should be thankful that we live in America and be proud of our nation.

On this day, we should take a moment, remember the immense loss our nation suffered, and pray for everyone who was touched with death and destruction on this day.

I remember where I was that fateful morning. I was in the linen room at Cottonwood Hospital where I worked then loading a cart for the morning deliveries. The news came on the radio. At first, I thought it was some sick joke, but no, it was the truth. It hit me. I stood there. I looked around at my workers hoping they knew what to do. They looked at me. I don’t how long we stood there gaping at each other.  Eventually, we started working again. We listened to the news. None of us said it, but I think we all were glad we were in Utah and not New York or Washington.

America was under attack. Life would never be the same again.  

I watched the news coverage for the next week. It was look both watching and being part of a gigantic train wreck in slow motion. I had never felt such sadness, anger, helplessness before or since, and hope I never do.

On a recent tribute special on TV, I heard someone say, “As long there’s not a plane crashing into this building you’re having a good day.” We should all take these words to heart. Nothing we’ve gone through or will go through will ever be that bad.

Here are some thoughts from Christian pastors and writers.

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: The Cross embodies the hope of glory for mankind simultaneously carries a powerful truth that life is both vertical and horizontal. Vertically, we stand connected to God and his kingdom; horizontally, we stand in communion with culture and society. Life brims with vertical and horizontal dichotomies: sanctification and service; covenant and community; faith and action; righteousness and justice; John 3:16 and Matthew 25; Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr.

Where should we live as followers of Christ, as parents, spouses, ministers, and citizens? Not in the extremes or outskirts but in the nexus, where the vertical and horizontal intersect: the center. How do we collectively triumph over extremism, moral relativism, spiritual apathy, cultural decay, and religious totalitarianism?

The only authentic, transformative solution to cultural challenges stems not from the donkey or the elephant, but rather from the glorious intersection known as the agenda of the Lamb.

Anne Graham Lotz, author of Expecting to See Jesus: A Wake-Up Call for God’s People: September 11 was an alarm that penetrated my daily responsibilities and my busy ministry schedule, warning me … of what? Ten years ago, I could not have answered that question. All I knew with certainty was that God was trying to get the attention of his people, including me. What I saw was not just a fresh vision of Jesus Christ. Like Isaiah, I also saw a humiliating vision of my own sin. I spent days on my face before God, confessing my sin and receiving his cleansing. The result was an authentic experience of personal revival. The immediate impact was a renewed vibrancy in my relationship with God, an increased fervency in prayer, clearer insight into God’s Word, and a sharpened focus in ministry. The alarm did not fade away. Instead, I have heard it reverberating throughout the past 10 years: from Hurricane Katrina to the record-breaking floods, forest fires, tornadoes, droughts, and snow storms; to the collapse of our major financial institutions; to the economic recession; to the inability to win the war in Afghanistan. The alarm keeps resounding because so many people have not heeded, or even heard, the warning. What is the warning? Simply this: It is five minutes to midnight on the clock of human history. Judgment is at the door. Jesus is coming! It’s time to wake up and get right with God! Are you listening?

William Paul Young, author of The Shack:  Today I am more convinced than ever that there is indeed a relational God present, personal, and involved in the midst of the mess and wonder of humanity, who is good all the time, and who respects the human creation more than we do; there is a Spirit who is stirring countless hearts to everything that is good, causing us to question the fundamental paradigms that push us to harm and hurt and, in turn, inspiring us to create the new, the profound, the elegant, and the beautiful. In the center of it all is Jesus, who is the revelation of True Good and in whom we have hope, not just individually but for us as the human race. One God, one Relentless Love.”

Matt Redman, Christian worship leader, songwriter:  Soon after the tragedy, my wife and I wrote “Blessed Be Your Name.” It’s a simple worship offering about choosing to worship and trust God no matter the season. September 11 taught me that when it comes to worshiping God, we must trust, of course. We can also be real, raw, and honest. We can lay our frustration and confusion before God and still rejoice. Doing so tells God we know he is bigger than all of our issues—and provides a window of hope to a watching world.

Margaret Feinberg, author of Hungry for God: Hearing God’s Voice in the Ordinary and the Everyday: A decade after 9/11, we are still here. What if that continues for another decade, and another? How do I need to live right now to pass on the faith in a meaningful way to the next generation? What does it look like to love my neighbor when his or her beliefs are so different from my own? How do I navigate the cultural shifts taking place in our world? September 11 has been a profound wakeup call to love Jesus and others more.

We can choose today will different from yesterday.

We suffer. We can choose two responses. 

Either let our suffering harden our hearts to hate or we can choose compassion and love, choose to bless God and others, find a better solution than becoming bitter.

Better or bitter, which will you choose?

I say let tragedy transform you into more Christ-centered, God-glorifying, humble human beings. We should embrace audacious hope, love everyone and just see how our world changes more into the Kingdom of God—no more tears, no more unwanted orphans, no more lonely or uncared for brothers and sisters, love not war. We can do this to honor those we lost on 9/11. Resurrection waits for us to claim that much better reality.

I will look for ways to love and care for the unwanted people in our society.

I will hope and move towards a better reality for others and myself.

I will not let anyone or anything get in my way of choosing a better way of living in our world.

What will you do?

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