Summary: What is the primary responsibility of Christ’s church in a time like this? A commentary on the events of Sept 11, 2001
As I begin typing this sermon, it is 2:15 p.m. in New York City and Washington D.C., Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
People there are wandering the streets with their arms dangling at their sides, occasionally glancing up toward the open skyline where only 6 hours ago the two towers of the World Trade Center Stood.
Firefighters at that location and at the Pentagon are still fighting blazes there and attempting to minimize the danger at those scenes.
Newscasters are talking to witnesses, retired heads of state, retired Generals ~ primarily because the heads of state and active Generals are all in secret places around the country trying to sort this mess out ~ and they are asking these witnesses and experts, “What went wrong?” “Could this have been avoided?” “What will we do now?”
I’ve been watching television all morning, and I haven’t heard anyone with a good answer yet. During one of those interviews General Wesley Clark, former Nato Supreme Commander ended his comments with his own question; “Will we ever be the same?”
Now, I have to say here that my stomach is upset. It is upset because since I turned my television on at 7 a.m. mountain time, I have been angry, and sad. I have heard the reports that well over 50 thousand people may have been in and around the World Trade Center towers, and very many of them died today. I’ve been angry and sad because I learned that the planes that hit those buildings and the Pentagon were hijacked commercial airliners with passengers. I’ve been angry and sad because for every one of those passengers and office workers and police and firemen that died today, there will be entire families left behind grieving. Children wondering what happened to their mom or dad ~ or maybe mom and dad.
I’ve been angry and sad because this is my country, and someone who has no right to be in my country came here to do this thing.
So I’m angry and I’m sad, and I feel for the sufferers and I care about them.
Having said that, I want to give you my answer to the question that gentleman on television asked this morning.
“Will we ever be the same?”
My answer is, “I hope not”.
In all this tragedy, all this grief and loss, the very worst thing that could happen in reference to the events of this day would be if after the pieces were picked up, and all the details were sorted out, we were unchanged.
In times past I have had (or created) many opportunities to speak against the evils of our modern society. Like many other preachers and writers I have expounded the parallels between the present United States of America and ancient Greece on the edge of its decline. I have said with others, and rightly so, that we have become as ancient Rome was in its corruption and moral decay.
I have warned, when I was given opportunity, as men and women of God have warned for many, many years, that if we as a nation do not turn to God in repentance we will not long stand ~ and I still believe that.
As a result of today’s events there will be sermons preached touting these same truths and warnings, all over our country over the next few weeks.
So I’m not going to go there. I want to address here, Christ’s church. I want to talk to each and every man woman or young person in this country who calls himself/herself ‘Christian’, and legitimately believes in the shed blood of Christ and His resurrection for their salvation.
I want to address the church.
We must not stay the same. We must never be the same again. We live and have our homes and our roots and our future in a nation that once declared openly that it was a nation under God.
A nation that has gone full circle and one step at a time turned its political and social and economical and artistic, and in many cases, religious back on that God, saying ‘we no longer need You’.
We live in this country rubbing shoulders day in and day out with people who are dead in trespasses and sins and we often act, or fail to act, as though we don’t care one bit.
We are sitting in the gates of Sodom, conducting our business and buying and selling and eating and drinking and living as though we are as ignorant as the rest, of what is to come.
We as believers have the cure for the world’s ills and we hoard it like a prized toy.
We have the promise of heaven and we shove it way down into our pocket with a closed fist as though giving it to others will somehow ruin it for ourselves.