Like most people, I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the events of 9/11. I was a Senior at Gordon College and chapel had just let out. I was on my way to class, just about to enter the side door on the left of the Jenks Library at Gordon College. My Senior Seminar class was going to start in a while and I thought I’d check my email before going to class (that was when you actually needed a computer with an ethernet chord to connect to the internet). A friend of mine said something about a plane flying into one of the the Twin Towers in NYC, but we still didn’t really know what was happening since it was all unfolding.
When the second tower was hit and we heard the Pentagon was also hit none of us knew what to think or feel. One of my good friends in class was from New York City. He was a mess. Most of us were. We sat together in class with the professor with the radio on, listening.
The message soon came that classes were canceled for the rest of the day and an impromptu chapel session would begin soon. I don’t remember the chapel ever being more full… or so many people ever praying so fervently for the same thing.
Teenagers, you lived through this tragedy, but I’m not sure what you remember. Talk to your parents, to older siblings, to whoever… Read blog posts, newspaper articles… watch the news this weekend. The following blog post literally brought me to tears as I read it, because it made me remember and re-feel (I know, that’s not a real word) what I felt and experienced that day, here’s his concluding paragraph:
What They Taught Us, by Marshall Allen
“Sept. 11, 2001, we realized the depths of evil and learned the value of life. Thousands of people died when the walls of the Pentagon and World Trade Center came down. Hopefully those of us left to reflect on the loss will learn to love one another as we were created by God to do — through the inner transformation that’s the product of our relationship with our Creator. We’re not going to eradicate evil from the earth, or create a humanistic utopia, but we’ll be fulfilled through living as we were intended to live. We only live once, so let’s be sure our ‘I love you’ messages at the end of our lives are consistent with how we’ve lived.”
Greg Stier also wrote a great post entitled, “How Should Christians Respond to 9-11?” His is a shorter blog that all Christians would benefit from considering. Check it out.
It’s so easy for us to get caught up in complaining about this or that and to lose sight of what matters most. May we all remember the lessons that 9/11 taught us:
- Every day is a gift from God, treat it accordingly. Don’t waste your days, live them joyfully.
- Tell loved ones how much you love them. Don’t just assume they know already… tell them!
- Forgive those who hurt you. As the article linked to above reminds us, none of the people who made phone calls on 9/11 held a grudge… they wanted to tell their wife, children, moms and dads that they loved them.
- Live for Christ, don’t just think about him. If you’re a Christian, Jesus says the world will know you by the way you love one another. Creeds and doctrinal statements are essential and needed, but it we live our lives and build our culture in a way that is contradictory to what we claim we believe then people will find us hypocritical and repulsive.
- Don’t put off living for Christ for when you’re older. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and the more you build your life apart from Christ the further away from Him you’re drifting.
- Finally, 9/11 taught us that national unity really is possible. Unfortunately, however, it seems only possible in times of great tragedy when all secondary agendas are able to fade into the background for the moment.