I was in my office, upstairs in the old home where the Fayetteville First United Methodist Church offices were located, when Gail called up from the front desk over the intercom. She asked me if heard about what happened in New York a few minutes ago, and told me to come downstairs. A television had been set up in the sitting area up front and the images it showed were unbelievable.
I remember watching for a few minutes, and then going back upstairs to my office. This is terrible to admit, but I remember thinking that I needed to get back to work on that Tuesday morning because I had a lot to do. It was the first week back at school for me at seminary and that, combined with my full-time position as minister with students at this busy church, meant I spent most days trying to keep up. So, I climbed the stairs and sat down to try to get something done. Within a few moments, I was back downstairs watching and soon was home with Julie and Sam, who was about 10 weeks old at the time.
None of us will never forget that fateful Tuesday morning when images came through television screens of the unimaginable. Planes, buildings, terror, and soon the awareness that thousands of lives were lost and the conflicts that had long raged overseas had breached our shores. September 11, 2001 was a day that changed things. Like a declaration signed, a cannon shot, a bomb dropped, a speech given, or a giant step taken, it was a moment that we will remember.
It was a day of loss that, over time, led to days of hope for many people. Others are still found living between loss and hope. Where are you on that spectrum? Where am I? Can we turn our remembering of the past into energy and passion for our future? That is a question for more than just this coming Sunday. I offer this prayer from some of the resources United Methodists will be using this weekend:
O God, our hope and refuge, in our distress we come quickly to you. Shock and horror of that tragic day have subsided, replaced now with an emptiness, a longing for an innocence lost.We come remembering those who lost their lives in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants who demonstrated the greatest love of all by laying down their lives for friends. We commit their souls to your eternal care and celebrate their gifts to a fallen humanity.We come remembering and we come in hope, not in ourselves, but in you.As foundations we once thought secure have been shaken, we are reminded of the illusion of security.In commemorating this tragedy, we give you thanks for your presence in our time of need and we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth, our guide and our guardian. Amen.
(www.gbod.org/worship, written by the Rev. Jeremy Pridgeon)