Seven years later, 9-11 still haunts me.
Podcast version here
I always find this day difficult. The horrors of seven years ago never seem to go away. It was an uncanny moment and it still seems surrealistic to me. I still can’t believe that religious fanatics would kill all those innocent people in the Name of God. It defies logic. It defies humanity. It defies faith.
John 11: 21Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
I’m also transported inwardly to the hospital room with David and Linda. David was dying of cancer and Linda was crying fearfully. On one side of David’s bed, we were helplessly watching his vital signs flat lining. On the other side, a muted TV was showing the Twin Towers ablaze and collapsing. I have never felt so powerless in my life and, for the first time, I understood Martha’s blunt statement: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
As has become my custom, I visited David’s grave this morning and talked to him for a while. I miss his quiet ways and wry sense of humor. I miss his private faith and personal devotion to God. I miss his friendship and sharing lunch with him, every now and then.
I dwell upon the inevitability of my own mortality and how it might come. I thank God for the friends I have known and promise once again not to waste a moment of my life. I think about how time moves on and realize that the old oak tree, which once stood near David’s grave, is no longer there. Everything changes and I have, too. After seven years, would David know the pastor and person I have become?
And then, just as I am sighing and getting ready to leave, I see that a new sapling has emerged beside the trunk of the old tree. Death does not have the final say. Life emerges out of loss and faith overcomes fear. The Lord is here with the two of us where heaven and earth, humanity and eternity, mortality and immortality meet.
I am both resurrected and renewed.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are always with us, even when we feel distance from You. Thank You for Your presence which lifts and carries us throughout our lives. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.