Summary: How do we respond to the tragedy that has come upon our nation? God’s call to us in Psalm 37 gives us clear direction about what we must and must not do.
"Where Do We Go From Here?"
Our attention has been captured this past week by the attack that has taken place in our own country. The sight of planes flying into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon caused all of us to stop our normal routines and fix our attention on New York and Washington D.C. The sight of the tallest buildings in our country crumbling like sandcastles was beyond anything that any of us could have ever imagined. The thought that terrorist could attack the most secure building in our country, possibly in the world, has caused many Americans to fear their own safety.
This past week I have read and read some more, newspapers and other news sources on the Internet, to see how we as Americans are understanding these experiences that we are going through. Fear and confusion have a grip upon this land like steel in the clutches of an iron vice. Anger is turning into rage as many American’s shock is turning quickly into a thirst for vengeance.
At the same time there is another voice that is rising up in our country - a voice of encouragement, a voice of hope, a voice of faith, not fear. The word that I have heard is that there is a line of New Yorkers that has formed just outside of where the rescue workers are leaving their work to go to the hospitals, resting places, and to gain more equipment. These New Yorkers have made signs saying, "You Are Our Heroes!" and "We Are With You!" There are people all over the country who are giving blood, school children who are writing cards, sending Teddy Bears, and collecting anything and everything that those in New York and Washington D.C. might need during this time of anxiety and unspeakable heartache.
For us, as Oklahomans, this heartache sings a sorrowful song that we know all too well. We don’t even know the sheet music to be able to sing with our brothers and sisters in the East on this day. When the planes struck the building and chaos quickly filled the atmosphere of New York and Washington D.C. I began to pray for the ministers of New York and Washington D.C. I also prayed for the rescue workers who would see, during the next few days and weeks, sights that they have never seen before. These people were so heavy on my heart because I went down to the Murrah building a few hours after the bombing to pray for and listen to rescue workers who were helping. I worked in the morgue for a few hours the first night and saw the shock experienced by those who were receiving the body bags coming out of the building. I was with the families downtown for two weeks sharing with them, praying for them, and holding them as they cried. You need more than strength to hold up during times like these, you need the help of Almighty God and I know He is giving them strength even now.
I want to encourage you to continue to pray for these folks. I will assure you that the ministers who are there on site feel less than adequate, but they are more than needed. I read a story on Wednesday night written by a priest who has been at the site since it happened. He is praying for the dying, comforting the family members who are waiting, and holding hospital workers, police officers, firefighters, and everyone else whose world has come apart at the seams.
I’ve read about churches that opened their doors right after the planes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and they have not closed since that time. A friend of mine who works in the White House and whose husband was taking their little girl to the Pentagon Day Care Center right after the plane struck that building, left her duties at the White House to make sandwiches at her church for those working downtown to save lives. God’s people are busy my friends. They are busy not just in New York and Washington D.C., but they are busy all around this country serving as agents of hope, providers of whatever is necessary for those in need, and to pray at all times.
We could spend all of our time this morning just telling stories -- stories of hope, tragic loss, and miraculous events that spared lives. We could also spend our time telling stories of fear, anxiety, confusion, and rage. There are so many people who are afraid like they have never been afraid before. There are people who are angry and wanting to see vengeance take place and we could tell their stories. You can find those stories on the television and read about them in countless newspapers andon the Internet if you like, but I would like to do something all together different this morning.