September 11 – What do you remember?
An elementary school student wrote shortly after the terrorist attack: “Dear God: We hope there will be no war and no more plane crashes because we don’t want anybody to get hurt again!”
Encouragement: Following September 11, I remember the continual encouragement we all tried to provide for rescue workers, our military and anybody involved in helping others. I remember how Americans everywhere seemed to put their differences aside for the common cause of helping each other deal with tragedy.
Philip Yancey writes: The street was lined with New Yorkers waving banners with simple messages, “We love you. You’re our heroes. God bless you. Thank you.” The workers were running on that support as their vehicles ran on fuel. They had so little good news in a day. They faced a mountainously depressing task of removing tons and tons of twisted steel, compacted dirt, smashed equipment, broken glass. But every time they drove past the barricades they faced a line of fans cheering them on, like the tunnel of cheerleaders that football players run through, reminding them that an entire nation appreciated their service.
A portion of today’s Lectionary Passage from Romans 14:10-13 seems appropriate to remembering and encouragement.
So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
Here is what stood out for me:
Why do you condemn another believer?
We will all stand before the judgment seat of God? Every knee will bend to me.
Instead, live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
Do not condemn.
We all stand before God.
Live so that you will not cause another to stumble and fall.
The basics of our faith and our witness as Christians seems to start here. Before we can tell our story, before we can witness our faith, before we can point out the shortcomings of another we must learn: Do not condemn. We all stand before God. Live so that you will not cause another to stumble and fall.
Here are others who remember September 11 and the lessons they learned:
“I thought this must be the end of the world. That evening we gathered at church for a prayer vigil and I saw people I don’t usually see on Sundays. Why does it take something so tragic to get people together for prayer? I feel a strong need to pray for our President and leaders.” Rita
“The days after September 11th were amazing; how one nation put everything aside to come together as one. Everyone looked at each other as equal. We were one nation under God! You thank God for every breath you take, for every opportunity to ask “how are you?” and wait to hear their response.” A.
“I wished so many times that I could tell everyone to slow down. On this day people really slowed down. So many people showed up at our church searching for hope, direction and comfort. This was a wakeup call.” Theresa
“As the day proceeded, I remember being outside with my father, looking up and thinking ‘how clear the sky was. It was a beautiful day! How could something so terrible and unspeakable be happening just hours from here?’ Over the years, I became numb to the bombings and killings happening in the Mid-East on the evening news. How arrogant of me! Now, I see the news differently.” Karen
“I wanted to hate the terrorists at first but through prayer I was able to learn about them and their concerns. If we could sit at a table and talk, I think we could learn to live side by side.” Unknown
“What is most important in my life? It is one thing to say you are a Christian but another to live the life Christ has given us. I want to be more and more like Jesus in all I say and do. Have I done that this year? God is with us in our pain and our sorrow. May we all surrender everything to Him?” Sue
“God is with us in our pain and our sorrow. May we surrender everything to him.”
Maybe that is the best response of all.