Summary: Special sermon for 9-11 honoring Police and Firefighers. Remembering their sacrifice, remembering the sacrifice of Christ, and remembering to lay down your life as a living sacrifice.
Title: Remembering Your Sacrifice 09/08/02 West Side
Text: Romans 8:35-39 A.M. Service
Purpose: Special service honoring our local Police and Firefighters. A 9-11 Sunday Morning Service. May be used at any time.
Once in every lifetime something happens on the world stage, which shapes the course of human events. That event occurred one year ago on the morning of Sept 11th. Consider for a moment what was set in motion by the terrorist attacks of that day:
Our nations capital was attacked.
1. Over 3000 people lost their lives.
2. The Manhattan skyline was irrevocably changed.
3. The financial trade center for 150 nations was completely destroyed.
5. The world’s economy was greatly tested.
We waged a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
But, a long-standing almost invisible war will be fought for years to come around the world.
That’s the big picture and it says nothing of the tens of thousands of people here and abroad whose lives were changed. Try to calculate the human toll emotionally and spiritually and you can’t. Only God can weigh such matters. But we try in feeble ways to understand. Events like these raise fundamental questions. Why is there so much evil in the world? Why do innocent people suffer? Where is God when tragedy strikes?
I am struck by how universal these questions are. They are as old as Job and are asked by the wisest people among us.
Question: Where were you?
A. Many were getting ready for work
B. Some where at school
C. Others might have just been getting their morning coffee.
No matter where you were, you remember those first few moments of unbelief. (Show slides…)
We witnessed horrific scenes of disbelief, uncertainty and confusion. We wondered why all this began to happen, and what did all this mean?
As I searched for pictures to use today, even though it was a year later, I found myself reliving those images again and again. I replayed the towers collapsing over and over. I could feel an emptiness in my stomach, and a heavy heartache in my chest. There was an overwhelming sense of helplessness.
In fact one writer put in words like this to describe the emotion of grief.
OUR YEAR OF GRIEVING
Author Edgar Jackson poignantly describes grief: Grief is a young widow trying to raise her three children, alone. Grief is the man so filled with shocked uncertainty and confusion that he strikes out at the nearest person. Grief is a mother walking daily to a nearby cemetery to stand quietly and alone a few minutes before going about the tasks of the day. She knows that part of her is in the cemetery, just as part of her is in her daily work. Grief is the silent, knife-like terror and sadness that comes a hundred times a day, when you start to speak to someone who is no longer there. Grief is the emptiness that comes when you eat alone after eating with another for many years.
Grief is teaching yourself to go to bed without saying good night to the one who has died. Grief is the helpless wishing that things were different when you know they are not and never will be again. Grief is a whole cluster of adjustments, apprehensions, and uncertainties that strike life in its forward progress and make it difficult to redirect the energies of life.
--Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 171.
I. Remembering the Sacrifices of our Police Officers/
But helplessness is not the same as hopelessness.
As we witnessed those events, the people in the towers and buildings must have thought “how helpless I feel.” Unfortunately, some of them did feel hopeless, and plunged to their deaths. I can’t begin to try to know what it must have felt like to be faced with the reality of certain death, and have know hope. And yet, coming up the stairwells were men and women, who were bringing hope. Firefighters and police officers, who in the face of ultimate danger rose to the occasion and provided hope by giving direction and comfort.
The sight of those individuals must have been a welcome relief that help was on the way.
None of us could have imagined what took place on that day. Those men and women where people just like you and me. People who got up that morning, showered, dressed, kissed their loved ones good bye, and went to work.
None of us knows what lies before us in a day. But there is probably not one family here represented that doesn’t know or at least has entertained the thought, about the safety of their loved ones. For there are things that yes, may be within our control, but like so many, there are things out of our control.