Summary: This sermon is about how to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A. Today is a very important day in the history of our country, for as you well know, today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
1. All week I struggled with the question: what should be said from the pulpit on a day like today?
2. I looked back in my notes to see what we did together on that first Sunday after the attacks.
a. It was Sunday, September 16, 2001.
b. We decided to do a devotional worship service that day – Titled: “A Time of Crisis.”
c. My sermon was broken up into three segments:
1. Remember to Reach Out for God.
2. Remember to Help the Hurting.
3. Remember to Prepare for Judgment.
3. So here we are 10 years later.
a. We all know what happened back then - I don’t have to go into great detail about it.
b. We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news.
c. It seemed as if time stood still as we all tuned in to watch the tragedy unfold over the next hours and days.
4. Many of us here today have moved well beyond the tragedy, but for so many other people, what happened 10 years ago continues to directly affect their lives.
a. Nearly 3,000 people from 90 countries died in the carnage of the terrorist attacks, including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers.
1. The people from all of those families continue to live life without their loved ones.
2. We should be praying for their continued comfort.
b. Since those attacks and the war on terror, at least 900 thousand people (by the most conservative estimates) have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
1. That number includes the 4,683 U.S. troops who have lost their lives.
2. That number also includes the other coalition troops killed, the Afghan and Iraqi troops killed, the contractors and journalists killed, and all of the Afghan and Iraqi civilians who have died.
3. That is a lot of families who have lost loved ones who need God’s comfort.
c. In addition to all those who have lost their lives, there have been an estimated 1.5 million people who have been injured in these wars, including 30,490 U.S. soldiers. Those injured will suffer with those injuries for the rest of their lives.
5. I bring all of this up to help us to be sensitive to the fact that this anniversary means a lot of different things to different people, depending on the personal way it has affected you.
B. So let’s return to the original question I began with: how should we commemorate this anniversary during our worship service today?
1. Let me say that I believe there are a number of things we should not do.
2. First, the focus of our worship should not be primarily patriotic.
a. I’m thankful to be an American and I believe our country has been blessed in many ways.
b. But we are not here to worship and praise the United States of America – that would be idolatry.
c. Our hope and trust must be in our God, not our country, and our most important citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, not in some earthly kingdom.
d. And although it is natural to love and take pride in your own country, our spiritual perspective should cause us to see that God is equally interested in all the people of the world, regardless of geography, culture, nation or ethnicity.
3. A second thing we should not do today is attempt to raise people’s fears about our enemies in the world – this should not be a time to focus on Muslim extremists, although they are a serious threat.
4. A final thing I don’t intend to do today is to show a lot of pictures or footage of planes crashing into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
a. We’ve all seen those images hundreds, if not thousands of times, and no doubt we’ve seen a lot of it this week as the anniversary has approached.
C. So, if that’s not what we should do, then what should we focus on in our worship on a day like today?
1. There are two primary things that I want to encourage us to focus on.
2. The first is that we should put our hope and trust in the Lord, and the second is that we should seek to forgive our enemies.
D. What does it mean that our hope and trust is in the Lord?
1. Let’s turn our attention to Psalm 33.
2. Starting with verse 4, we read:
4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.