Sep 11, 2020 | Rev. Rob Fuquay
Our high school graduates this year were the first ones born since the attacks of 911. We now have a full generation since the attacks that occurred that beautiful September morning. Few single day events changed our world like that one. Today is September 11 and so we remember.
Of course the remembrances wane over the years. It’s barely mentioned on the front pages of many of the nation’s leading newspapers and no wonder. We are living in our own current world-changing crises: uncontrollable fires in the west, racial unrest, and continued rises in coronavirus cases. Many speculate how this pandemic will permanently change our world like 911. But I believe we need to pause and remember today more than any of the previous 18 remembrances of 911. Let me suggest some things to remember:
- My trust in God is paramount. The worst attack on American soil shattered our collective confidence. If the symbols of our greatness could be turned to rubble in a few hours then everything in our lives is fragile. And that is true. 911, like many experiences that can strike with suddenness, remind us of the fragility of our existence. Our greatest need is God. Just think for a moment about the things you’ve allowed to get your hackles up (southern expression) in recent days. What are they? Politics? Something work related? A bad encounter with a salesperson? Something a loved one did that annoys you? Now imagine you just learned that you, or the most important person in your life, might die in the next few minutes. How important are those things?
Why would I mention something so stark? Because we need to put life in perspective… frequently! If we faced such news, most of those issues that cause us to get so upset are suddenly not that important. That’s what we learned nineteen years ago today. We put life in perspective. Many turned to God. We made faithfulness our most important need. Well, that need hasn’t changed. In fact, it may be even greater.
- We need to be careful with each other. In the days following 911 there was a wave of unity…fear. People came together to look out for each other. But in some places there were horrible attacks on individuals who looked middle-eastern or were Muslim. An act of hatred perpetrated by people far away was allowed to spawn hatred by Americans against Americans. If we learned anything its that when times are hard we need to be careful with each other and seek not to let expressions of division and derision become our narrative. We follow a Savior who taught us to “carry each others’ burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.”
- And finally, remember that God is in charge of the future. Enough of this panic about what is going to happen if this person gets elected or that one. “This is my Father’s world, and let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet!” 911 reminds us of this truth. God is in charge and goodness prevails.
This is a picture that hangs in my office. It was taken on a late September day in one of my favorite places in creation, an area off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the NC mountains called “Graveyard Fields.” It got the name from a forest fire in the 1920s. The fire devastated the beauty of the mountains. The burned trees left fields of stumps appearing like gravestones. But life prevailed. Growth returned. This picture reminds me to choose to look for the beauty in the world that is always around me.
Have a good September 11,