I find myself on the East Coast this year (I’m officiating a wedding tomorrow) as we reach a monumental date in American history, and oddly enough last night I was watching an old television show, trying to fall asleep, and suddenly I was struck by the image of the two towers of the World Trade Center, high in the New York skyline. It never fails to stop me short.
It was my first week in full time ministry… I remember as a deacon having to post the blog from the pastor reflecting and lamenting, asking our members to trust in God and devote themselves to prayer. At the time, it hung heavily over my inaugural days as a church staff member, but looking back, it was one of many times of testing and tempering how God would ask me to react in times of crisis, pressure, and sorrow.
Twenty years later, I think of what our church, our country, our world and the Christians in it are facing today: fears and frustrations surrounding a pandemic, the mess and chaos as America exits Afghanistan, civil war in Ethiopia. That barely scratches the surface. These are, for many of us, less visual or visceral than the events of September 11, 2001… instead they linger, they drag out, and they won’t seem to end. However, the impact of the World Trade Center attack has lingered as well, the trauma and loss and ripple repercussions still echoing today. For the Christian, it is the sad-but-true state of affairs of life under the sun: there may be moments of rest and respite in this life, but the only way we will know ultimate rest and peace is when things are when we are caught up and embraced by the Prince of Peace.
Until then, we need to be more constant in our prayers… for the world, for those who’ve lost loved ones, for those who serve us in the armed forces, for first responders, and more… for the chaplains, the missionaries, the Christians in all of those sectors where critical moments need the greatest hope and rescue of all: the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is part of why we paused to look at prayer with a special sermon a few weeks ago, and we’ll be back in Exodus Sunday with the incense used for the altar of the tabernacle. We already covered its symbolism in regard to prayers wafting up to our great and glorious God.
We do well to remember September 11 today and what it meant, but for Christians, when it comes to offering up our prayers, we should also be mindful to never forget.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” – Colossians 4
Soli Deo Gloria,