Fourteen years ago today, life changed in America and around the world. Most of us vividly remember that day, September 11, 2001, now known worldwide as 9/11. Images of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City burning and collapsing are indelibly etched in our minds and hearts.
Today many Americans are observing, participating in and watching TV coverage of ceremonies in New York City, at the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania. The names of those who lost their lives that day are being read by relatives in somber observances. America remembers 9/11.
On September 19, just over one week after the devastation, Atlantic District President Dr. David Benke and I visited Ground Zero in New York City. Dave’s wife Judy and my wife Terry have special, heartfelt recollections of that day and the days that followed. So do many others in our national church body, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
In a meeting of the LCMS Council of Presidents September 22-25, 2001, leaders of our church reached out to the nation by drafting and unanimously approving a full page statement published October 2, 2011, in USA Today and The New York Times. The text of that statement, titled A Promise, is posted below my signature.
If you were alive September 11, 2001, and old enough that day to grasp the gravity of what occurred, you will always remember 9/11. And so will I, remembering God’s promise that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
A Promise – The New York Times and USA Today – October 2, 2001
In the aftermath of our nation’s tragedy three weeks ago today, we of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod wholeheartedly offer our love and prayers for those tens of thousands of people whose lives have been drastically altered by the sudden loss of their loved ones and friends.
At such a time it is natural to wonder how we can get on with life.
Still heavy with the burden or our enormous loss, we face the potential for even more danger at our doorstep. And as we look out upon the world seeking a promise of comfort and hope, we may see only darkness.
Yet we are not the first people to suffer such darkness, nor to long for such a promise.
David in the Old Testament, in time of great personal and national distress, looked to God and took comfort in His promise:
“The Lord is my shepherd … Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Jesus, to whom the Scriptures refer as our “Good Shepherd,” spoke words that are particularly poignant right now:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
That Good Shepherd understands suffering and death … and His own death and resurrection promise hope and comfort to us all.
In these days of great personal and national trial, it is important to remember the words of St. Paul as we struggle with ‘getting on with life’:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And that’s His promise!