Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11

Pastor Rebecca Thomas

Each year we reflect on September 11th the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th, 2001. Anyone who was conscious enough to recognize what was happening that day has a story about where they were when they learned about the towers being hit. I have a story about it too.

It is one of those events that we mark in history as a “before” and “after”. So much changed after 9/11 and not just in the security of our airports. It’s a bookmark in the history of our country, but also in the world because it changed how our country and our people interacted on the global stage.

As an historian by training, a teacher and pastor by vocation, looking back and remembering and tracing the impact of events is something I do naturally. But is an act of self awareness and discipline to not get stuck in a place of dwelling on the past or replaying events in my mind; rarely do those situations lead to a healthy space.

So when we look back at 9/11, remembrance of the lives lost is at the forefront of the “never forget” emphasis. But we should also recognize that those who lost loved ones will indeed never forget because their are upturned lives, empty chairs at tables, and vacancies that were left in spouses and children’s lives are painfully obvious on a daily basis.

My concern is that at times the moniker of “never forget” can trap us in a space of unforgiveness and hostility. Perhaps those of us who did not lose a close loved one might be even more tempted to rail against the enemy, curse those planned and executed attacks, and allow prejudice, dismissal, or apathy to take root toward those who we view as enemies.

But as Christ followers, we do not get to hold a record of wrongs or seek the destruction of our enemies. As those who follow King Jesus, we seek to apply Romans 12:9-21

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So while we remember, let’s take inventory on whether or not we are not forgetting, or whether we are not forgiving.