“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge.” - Psalm 57:1
This week we remember, twenty years later, the 2,996 people who lost their lives and the 25,000 more who were injured on 9-11, including the First Responders who ran towards what was happening, instead of away. This event continues to loom large in the hearts and lives and ethos of many in the United States, especially those of us living nearer to New York City. There are memorials in many towns, and of course in New York City itself. Yearly memorial gatherings have been held. We have striven to remember the tragedy of that day and those affected.
Perhaps it is a sign of the times through which we are living, with recent hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast and the East coast, and a second major earthquake hitting Haiti when they have not finished rebuilding from the last one ten years ago, and the death toll of Covid-19 in the United States alone nearing 650,000, that we are not setting up memorials to all of the lives that have been lost in these tragic circumstances. Are not all of these lives so tragically lost and all of the lives of people left behind, changed forever, equally important? Maybe the time will come when we will build memorials and hold yearly remembrance services. Maybe we are too deep in the crisis right now to stop long enough to remember. Or maybe we are unconsciously becoming inured, numbed by the scope and number of tragedies occurring around us.
If it this last, if we are becoming numb to all the tragedy that is happening around us, then it is time to wake up again. While it is totally understandable to get overwhelmed and numbed by tragedy, we as people and we as Christians are called to remember those who have been lost, and to remember and seek to care for those who are still with us, but struggling because of how these events have negatively impacted their lives.
So, I invite you to join me this day in taking a few moments, or even more than that, in remembrance of those whose lives were lost or changed forever by 9-11. And to also hold in our hearts and prayers all those affected by the tragedies of Covid-19 and weather disasters. And while we are busy praying, let us add to our prayers the request for God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to raise us up as leaders who will lead the compassionate charge to build a world where we do not forget, and where we come alongside neighbor to help in the rebuilding, all the while crying out for ourselves and this world, “be merciful to me oh God, for in you my soul takes refuge.”
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Tobias Anderson