Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th Musings

Pardon my long musings on this day; September 11th.
11 years ago I was on my way to a pastor's prayer group early in the morning when I heard on the news that a plane had flown into the WTC in NY. I turned to different stations, incl. my music and sports stations and they were all talking about the events unfolding with hijacked planes. Just as I arrived at a church about a mile north of FBC Smithfield, the second tower was hit. As I went in all the pastors were already on their knees. The usual time of fellowship and worship had been skipped and men were praying! I mentioned to one of them softly about the 2nd tower and he said they had just heard as well.
The prayers were fervent, passionate, and somehow both comforting and alarming. We prayed for the people on the planes, in the towers, the families of the killed and wounded and for the terrorists. We prayed for our country. Was this the first wave? Was it going to go nuclear soon? Was our western way of life over all at once?

The unity in the days and months ahead was inspiring, but we are mere humans with different priorities, goals, values and busy busy lives. The unity fades. The arguing returns.
When I stood a couple years later on that field in Pennsylvania where one of the planes went down there was a just a makeshift memorial there at that time. But it was loaded with hats, bumper stickers, and postcards, mostly from law enforcement and Emergency workers from all over the country. I think their sense of unity in the light of this tragedy has lingered longer than anyone else's except perhaps the Airline industry. Like the Police, Fire, and EMTs they put their lives on the line everyday in ways most of us don't.

But there is a different kind of unity I experience. It may wax and wane and then grow hot again from time to time, but it never goes out. That's the unity I experience around other followers of Jesus Christ. And it's one of the reason Christians would like to see other people join our ranks; The fellowship of the forgiven, the congregation of the righteous, the church of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Human based unity never lasts. Sadly. Especially government or geographic based unity. Ethnic unities may last longer but eventually splinter, dim and die. But there is a God-made unity that has lasted longer than Assyria, Babylon, the Zhou dynasty, Rome, Great Britain, and certainly longer than the USA has been around. That is the unity of those purchased by the death of God's Only Son.
What a shame we don't maintain that unity the way we should. Because it is a valuable asset. It is more than a feeling. It is a commitment to help the fallen, to strengthen the weak, to weep with those who weep and rejoice with the joyful.

9/11 saddens me, angers me, frustrated me and leaves me feeling a bit helpless. The watershed event that makes the unity of the body of Christ possible, causes me to rejoice.  Maybe that is just one reason this unity has lasted and means so much to so many.

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