I have the feeling this weekend is going to be a hard for a lot of people in this country. Not only are we still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, but now there is a Delta variant that has created confusion, fear, and anger. Emotions are running hot and high, in many different areas of life. However, this weekend will also be difficult for another reason.
It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since our lives were changed on September 11, 2001. I think as we re-live the events of that day in our minds and through the many pictures and images on television, every one of us remembers where we were, and what we were doing when America came under attack. If there was one question that most likely arose then, and perhaps is still on our minds today is, “Where is God in all this?”
My friends, the answer then and now has always been the same. Jesus Christ is there already. He was not sitting indifferently above and beyond the destruction in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. He was in the offices that collapsed down upon each other as the towers crumbled to the ground. He was under the rubble where the dead and wounded lay buried. He was in the planes filled with terrified passengers who called on airplane phones to tell others what was happening, and in some cases, who were saying goodbye to their families and loved ones.
As the cross of Jesus Christ proclaims, God can always be found in the places of deepest suffering. You may remember the story of Father Myke, the 68 year old chaplain of the New York City Fire Department. While giving last rites to a fatally injured fireman, Father Myke removed his own helmet and was killed by falling debris from Tower 2. A Roman Catholic fireman, an ordinary layperson, was standing nearby. He ran over, and as best as he knew how, gave Father Myke last rites. Afterwards, he asked the archbishop if it was okay for him to have given last rites to Father Myke. And the Archbishop said, “I believe the Lord understands.” He understands, -- because Jesus is a fireman.
The FDNY went running up the stairs of the towers while the people were running down the stairs. 343 of them lost their lives, many of them never making it out of the towers. We are indebted to the FDNY who saved the lives of around 25,000 people by evacuating them out of the Twin Towers before they collapsed. Jesus Christ stood tall and proud that day like the FDNY, to rescue and save lives. He was there that day, not just to comfort, but to save, and to lead us to a resurrected life, so that we can all have an Easter on 9-11.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. If you plan on attending either of our two worship services, we ask you to remember our policy which at present states that if you are vaccinated, you do not have to wear a mask. If you are unvaccinated, you are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines. We will be back inside the sanctuary at 8:00 am. At 10:30 am, we will be in the sanctuary, while also broadcasting on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube.