In the lead up to this year’s remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the memories of that day, now 20 years ago, and the days, weeks, and months that followed have been reawakened. That September morning, I had not yet gone in to work when a staff member called to ask if I was aware of what was being reported in the news. I turned the TV on in my living room and the images of the two towers of the World Trade Center burning made my jaw drop. Shortly after I had tuned in, the revelation that a third plane had now crashed into the Pentagon indicated a conspiracy that extended beyond New York City. Suddenly the whole world, even my small hometown in Montana, didn’t feel like a safe place to be.
These memories are not pleasant. Though I give thanks that all the people most important to me were kept safe from harm, I do recall the heightened anxieties that shaped our lives together and the decisions we would be making about the future. I decided to keep our restaurant open for business on 9/11 and the days that followed. Taking on a “they-can’t-stop-us” attitude of defiance seemed the right response at the time. This also fed an understandable support for the variety of military actions that followed, including the war in Afghanistan that lingered on, cost so much, and has so clumsily come to an end. If I had only known.
What do you remember about that day 20 years ago? What do you wish now that you would have known then? We can’t, of course, see into the future with certainty. But we can, hopefully, use the past to guide our steps and inform our actions.
This Sunday we return to the Narrative Lectionary, the appointed scripture readings for each week that move chronologically through the Bible. We use these texts to guide and shape our life together for the coming year. We’re starting, where else, at the very beginning. The account of God’s activity to create the world and God’s charge for us humans to be in partnership for the sake of a thriving and abundant life for all. As we return to these old stories of God’s activity and the responses of God’s people, I hope we continue to wonder how such a past might help to shape our future.
May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
Direct us, Lord God, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and extend to us your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name; and finally, by your mercy, bring us to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (from ELCA Worship Resources in remembrance of 9/11)