For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah.
~ Psalm 143:3-6
As expected, nearly everyone with a blog has written something this week about the 10th anniversary of the terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001. Obviously I haven’t read everything out there, but thought I’d share some of the best of what I’ve seen.
First of all, there are several sermons that have been preached over the years which put things in perspective. Many of these I encountered years ago, but some I found for the first time in recent days.
- Albert Mohler: Truth-Telling in a Time of Tragedy — A sermon preached on Septermber 13, 2001, just two days after the attack.
- John Piper: A Service of Sorrow, Self-Humbling, and Steady Hope in Our Savior and King, Jesus Christ — From the first Sunday following 9/11/01.
- Tim Keller: Remembrance and Peace — The pastor of Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church delivered this message on the fifth anniversary.
A Novel That Parses the Inexplicable — Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran a fascinating piece reflecting on 9/11 through the lens of Thornton Wilder’s 1927 novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Once again, this is evidence of the great importance of good literature, which oftentimes says best what’s to be said. (HT: Bensonian)
The Day Death Became Real — David Mathis posts an excerpt from a C.S. Lewis essay entitled Learning in War-Time, written during World War II. It is remarkably relevant to the lessons our generation has learned from 9/11.
A Meditation on Memory, Place, and 9/11 — Of all the “where were you on 9/11” posts, this has been my favorite. Matthew Lee Anderson (who also quotes Lewis’ essay) shares why the acts of reflection and remembrance are so important. We are deeply affected by our memory of events and places, and in sharing our own experience with others, “we fold the world into our own stories, weaving it between the mundane and the miraculous as a way of making sense.” An excerpt:
Most of us shrink, and rightly so, from attempting to cut through the complex character of that day and the world it created, and embark instead down the path of recollection and sharing. But that path, which begins in recalling a place and time, can lead to a civic friendship where we allow, if only for another moment, one thing we have in common overwhelm our differences and move us a step closer to the path that leads to charity and grace.
The Gospel at Ground Zero — Russell Moore’s excellent article from Christianity Today which compares the horrors of 9/11 to Good Friday.
Terror, Theology, and the Passing of Time — Video of a panel discussion from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which attempts to put these events into theological perspective.
Loving Muslims — I’m so thankful to the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for this recently-launched website, which reminds us and equips us to love this people group. We are to see these people as prisoners held in bondage, not as enemies! Check out this video put together by David Platt and others:
As for me, I was doing my usual college morning routine (you know, wake up 10 minutes before class, take a 90-second shower while the Pop-Tart is in the toaster, and race to the music building on my bike hoping to beat Charlie Decker to brass class) when I noticed that my computer screen was lit up with AIM messages from friends. I rushed into the living room to turn on the TV, just in time to see the second tower get hit.
I spent the rest of the day glued to the television news programs, skipping every class except for one in the afternoon because my professor had sent out an e-mail making sure everyone knew that international terror was not an acceptable excuse for missing the pop quiz she’d decided to give since pretty much everyone was skipping classes that day. One of my clearest memories of the day was actually walking to that class, trying to reflect on what was happening. A fighter jet flew by overhead; the military research facilities in Tullahoma and Oak Ridge had both been placed on alert, unsure of where the next strike might be.
Less than two weeks before, I had returned from my first summer working at CAMP-of-the-WOODS in New York. During my last week in New York, I had taken a group of international students to the City for some sightseeing. Our three stops during that whirlwind tour were Times Square, Yankee Stadium (where we witnessed an 8-homerun outburst against the Blue Jays), and the World Trade Center. I couldn’t imagine those buildings not being there.
By the end of the day, I was finally able to reach some of my NYC friends, as phone lines began to clear up. While I was relieved that they were all safe, the shock and grief I heard in their voices (several still had friends and family unaccounted for) made everything hit home.
Ten years later, it’s still difficult to process everything that happened that day. I’ve been thinking more and more as the day goes on about what we’ve learned as a nation, what God’s people have learned as a Church, and what I’ve learned personally. What will we teach our children about that day in another ten years? What will I teach the group of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders I teach on Sunday nights, most of whom were not yet born on 9/11/01?
Thankfully, the answer to this last question is an easy one. I will teach them what I teach them every Sunday night: the gospel of Jesus Christ, the object of our worship. Today is the Lord’s Day, set aside for remembrance of our Savior’s victory over sin, death, and Hell. May we never forget!