As We Remember

“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” - Deuteronomy 5:15

Dear Friends,

Today marks the 18th anniversary of those tragic events that we will forever remember as 9/11. The images of the smoking towers in New York City, the Pentagon and a field in Central Pennsylvania do not go away.

Brought up in casual conversation, virtually anyone alive at that time will recall with vivid detail where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news.

Some things are very easy to remember.

The question for us now, 18 years later, is not whether or not we will remember, but how and what we will choose to remember.

The heartbreaking and tragic loss of lives - that still continues to this day - is certainly one element. But I think there’s something even more valuable, more powerful for us to remember: The service, the sacrifice, the compassion, the generosity, the love that was lived out and on display, not just for days, but for weeks and months in response to this horrific tragedy.

When we remember 9/11, these acts of service should be forefront in our minds. Not to diminish the loss that happened, but to elevate it beyond a tragedy into a triumph. The lives lost were not lost in the midst of some random, horrific and tragic event - but as the spark that set off a million acts of kindness, the ripple effects that will be felt into eternity.

This way of remembering tragic events in our past, both collectively and individually, is one of the ways we transcend the pits of grief. We don’t ignore the loss, but we remember it as part of something greater.

It’s the same way that God will choose to tell our story.

Our story is not focused on our own mistakes, failings and fall, but about the love and grace that God has shown in and through them.

I pray that today, as you remember the tragic events of 9/11, you will also remember the harrowing sacrificial service of first-responders. I pray, as you remember planes hitting towers, you will also remember strangers holding hands and praying for each other. I pray, as you remember feelings of shock and fear, that you will ultimately remember the uprising and outpouring of support that flowed across this country, across this world even.

And I pray today, that in all your remembering, you will never forget the amazing grace and light of God, overflowing and outshining every dark spot that threatens us.

Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus, as we remember together,

Pastor Don

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