A beautiful fall morning. Kettles over open fires. The smell of wood smoke in the air. Clear blue skies. Joy. Joking and talking. Apples in buckets. Poured into kettles. Children bouncing around between the kettles. Adults talking. Fellowship. Divine, peaceful fellowship.
All that changed in a moment. Images of horror. One plane, one building. An accident? It has to be. A second plane. A second building. Horror. Fear. Terror. Exactly what was meant to happen. Tear apart the fabric of peace and replace it with terror, fear, anxiety, and unrest. It worked.
Quiet. But not a peaceful quiet. An unrestful quiet settles over everything. Returning from school, and the joking is gone. There is a tenseness that wasn't there before. Still cooking, stirring, watching and wondering. Listening. Asking. Filled with...uncertainty.
But wait, wasn't that uncertainty there before that moment? We could never be sure of anything. I will do this. I will go there. So certain. But it wasn't certain even before the towers collapsed. We just "believed" it was sure and certain, that everything was all right and we had no cares in the world. All that happened that day was the bringing to the surface what was there all along.
"For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." (Romans 8:36 ESV) We don't like this passage. We don't like what it tells us. For we live in a time, in an age, when we don't consider death as the reality. We don't look at suffering and pain as our lot in life. When those things happen, we become angry and upset. We should not face death. We should not have to suffer. NO! We will not allow it. Drop this talk of suffering and death.
But our lives are uncertain. "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12 ESV) 9/11 caused us to face the reality of life. We are frail, feeble people, even us Americans are still frail and feeble. We think we are strong. We think we can stand on our own. We cannot. We need to realize this fact. And the events of 9/11 almost taught us that.
We called on the Lord. We cried out in pain. We begged for relief. We longed for a peace that could pass all human understanding as the events of 9/11 unfolded and were burned into our memories.
And all along, that peace was there. All along there was the One who had faced all our terrors and had overcome them. There was One that had already traveled the path upon which we were walking even before 9/11 happened.
All we were looking for (and still look for) is right there in Christ Jesus. He has faced our terror, our pain, our fear, even our death - and overcame it. He died in our place. And then He rose to overcome all that we face. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure (convinced) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers (nor terrorists) nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)
Our certainty is in Christ Jesus, His life, death and resurrection. Will sickness come? Yes. Will terrorists destroy life and property? Yes. Will people riot in another community? Yes. Will I be filled with uncertainty over the situation of my life? Yes. Will I face situations that seem hopeless? Yes. Will people die? Yes. Will my loved one die? Yes. Will I die? Yes.
BUT! I am convinced that none of those things will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He brings to me and to you, to our nation, to the world, a peace that passes all human understanding. He gives peace in a world of terror, pain, suffering, loss, destruction, and death. His peace is eternal. It is ours - through faith in Him alone.
9/11 is history. We cannot and will not forget. But let us not forget another day, a Friday, a Good Friday that was followed by an even better Sunday, an Easter Sunday, a Sunday of resurrection. There is our peace.