Reflections of 9/11: Tragedy and Our Role as the Church

never-forget

Cross of Hope in the Rubble

I think we can all remember exactly where we were when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York, New York.  Then watched in terror as the second came screaming in.  A marker in our Nation’s History that will NEVER be forgotten.

However – in the midst of the tragedy – there was triumph.  In the pain – there was persistence.  In the unspeakable – there was unity.   We witnessed as thousands of volunteers and service men & women went to work in helping those in need and putting this city back together.  It was amazing to watch people band together in unity and serve alongside one another.

There really was BEAUTY FROM ASHES as such love, support, and sacrifice sprung forth from the rubble.

Since this moment – other tragedies have hit our Nation – like Hurricane Katrina, Joplin Tornado, School Shootings – and the efforts that were displayed on 9/11 truly stood as the standard for how people should respond.  Peoples horizons are broadened and there is a sense of widening of our scope of influence.

It is in these moments we decide whether we will steep up and do something to help or continue with our daily lives.

 

Tragedy Hits Us All

We all experience tragedy.  The horrid events of 9/11 that left so many as widows and orphans.  The loss was on a astronomical scale – but remains no less real of a tragedy of a mother or father that lose their child too soon; a wife or husband that loses a spouse to cancer or another disease; a family that is thrown into a spiral as they get word that their soldier isn’t going to be coming home from war.

We live in a broken world where the sting and pain of sin and death is still very much real.  Where loss, brokenness, and suicide exist.  Where tragedy hits us all.  So how should the Church respond to the TRAGEDIES that hit our friends and neighbors?

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15

 JUST MOURN WITH THEM. Sometimes we try to do or say too much.  We think we have to fix it.  We think we have to be the hero.  We think we have to out serve everyone else and show this grand gesture.   Cry with them. Be angry with them.  Just be with them. Which leads me to my next point.

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite,heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
Job 2:11-13

JUST BE WITH THEM.  Your presence speaks and ministers so much into a person going through personal tragedy.  You might have a fear of responding because you don’t know what to say to someone going through tragedy.  You have a fear of them not wanting you there.  Those are lies from satan.  Just go and be with them.  Even if you have to sit on the ground with them for seven days and seven nights.  Your presence is huge.

“he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29-37

JUST CARE FOR THEM.  We are not called to just do the bare minimum or to give the bare minimum to someone in tragedy.  We are called to cross the road, go out of our way, help them, serve them, and care for them in every way.  And not just those we know – but those who are different from us: different race, color, ethnicity, age, social class, etc.  We are called to care and love and have mercy – because we serve a God and have an example of a Savior that did more than CROSS the road – He died on a CROSS for us in our mess and pain.

We must respond to tragedy as the Church.  We must follow our example.  In the meantime let’s all look forward to a day without tragedy.  Come Lord Jesus Come.

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said,

“I am making everything new!” 

Revelation 21:3-6

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