Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later--Remembering 9/11

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNote: The following is adapted from my Pastor's message in the church newsletter.

Five years ago today . . . September 11, 2001 . . . A day now simply known as “9/11.”

As I was waking up that morning it did not appear to be a day any different than any other day. But the phone was ringing and John Martin’s voice told me to turn on my TV and see what was on the news.

What I saw unfolding on my TV was a scene straight out of Hollywood special effects and science fiction. What I saw, and what hundreds of millions of other Americans saw that day, was something that had never been seen before in human history. There was nothing in my memory of historical events to relate it to. What we saw was a new reality unfolding before our eyes. 21st Century terror was being introduced into the United States.

I sensed immediately that the world as I had known it would never be the same again. The old days of Cold War, bomb shelters, duck-and-cover drills, Nuclear Winter, détente, glasnost, Berlin Wall, Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy and King assassinations, Vietnam, perestroika, nuclear freeze, MAD, MIRVS, SALT & START which had framed my view of the world from my birth were swept away in a moment.

Since that that first 9/11 new images and new words have crept into our collective consciousness: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Afghanistan, Taliban, Iraq, Axis of Evil, airport security, Homeland Security, Islamic Fascism, Wahhabism, Sunni, Shi’ite, suicide bomber, Bali-Madrid-Beslan-London-Mumbai, IED, troop deployment, WMD, and, the one word that captures it all: "Terror."

People died on 9/11/01 and more will die today, 9/11/06. Some of those who will die will be American. Each has been, or will become, a casualty on one of many different fronts of the same conflict.

Here at MPC we are experiencing our second major deployment of "The War On Terror." I personally know of between 25-30 former and present MPC members who have served or who are currently serving in the US Military in Iraq. Afghanistan, and other countries and regions engaged in related conflicts.

As a church we have not taken a political position on US policy but we have attempted to respond to the situation with love, support, prayer and hope. We continue to affirm that evil and sin are at the center of all human conflict and we continue to seek God’s forgiveness for ourselves and for our nation. We do this even as we try to understand what it means to “love our enemies” and to “pray for those who persecute us.”

Following the way of Jesus is never easy. It often leads us through the “valley of the shadow of death.” It often leads us to the front lines of suffering, injustice and oppression. It often places us in the moral crucible of good & evil, sin & righteousness, Good Friday & Easter.

This morning we rang the bell on the church lanai. The church and preschool staff and the preschool children all paused for a moment of prayer and remembrance. On my knees I prayed for peace. And I thought of Easter.

Other 9/11 thoughts can be found here, here, here, here and, of course, here.