This Sunday is the 10tb anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York’s Twin Towers. Iconic photos of smoke and fire billowing from those glittering buildings are indelibly stamped in most our heads. Our sadness and sense of vulnerability remains close to the bone.
This Sunday is the 28th anniversary of the incorporation of the church I pastor. Twenty-eight years ago, a small band of faithful Christ-followers signed a deed that established New Life Community Baptist. We didn’t meet then where we do now, but a group of committed people – some still in our midst – bound and loosed on earth what was bound and loosed in heaven. All of us today are heirs of their faith and courage.
To them I feel an abiding thankfulness.
What a perfect Sunday to be in church.
Twenty-eight years ago, the people of New Life home met together for the very first time. Those who initiated that meeting made a declaration that, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. They chose to live lives defined by deepest reality.
And ten years ago, all North America woke up, if only briefly, to that deepest reality. For a split second, we got it: Life is about more than the latest reno or vacation or clothing purchase or pay raise. The Sunday after 9/11, churches throughout our continent were filled to standing room only. Tens of millions of people who otherwise didn’t pay any attention to deepest reality were, for a breath or two, utterly gripped by it.
And then most fell back asleep.
September 11, 1983 established an ensign. It announced on behalf of a few people that the Kingdom of God would reign in a little corner of Duncan.
September 11, 2001 pulled back a veil. It revealed to millions of people a reality most ignored most the time: life is very precious and very fragile. And only God and his Kingdom can redeem its preciousness and protect its fragility. Everything else is an illusion. Money, status, popularity, power – none of these things suffices. None can even scratch the surface.
God alone redeems.
God alone protects.
This 9/11, may churches everywhere be filled to standing room only, and may the veil be pulled back once again.
And this 9/11, may New Life be filled to standing room only, in celebration that for 28 years we have tried to live with no veils at all.