Skip to comments.A Time to Grieve; A Time for Resolve
Posted on 09/16/2001 11:26:37 AM PDT by logos
We do not know their names, except for just a few. We do not even know their number, except that they are in the thousands. We do know some things about them.
We know that they were bankers and stockbrokers, corporation executives and insurance agents, actuaries and accountants ... but they were also janitors and maintenance workers, retail clerks and store managers, security personnel and receptionists, firemen and policemen, as well as other occupations.
We know that they were white and black, brown and red and yellow. We know that they were men and women and children, some were babies.
We know that they were Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Muslims, Buddhists and pagans, atheists and agnostics, and some were most likely of other faiths, as well.
We know that they were pilots and stewardesses and passengers, some of them were jaded New Yorkers, others were rubber-necking tourists, and there were some who probably can't be classified.
We know that they were Democrat and Republican, Independent and Reform Party members, libertarians, socialists, conservatives and liberals, and some were completely apolitical. Some voted in the last election, and some never voted in any election.
Some were civilians, some were military, and some were civilians who worked for the government.
Most importantly, we know that they were our brothers and sisters. They were Americans.
Last Tuesday, September 11, 2001, they all died ... in flames and smoke, under tons of falling rubble, and falling out of the sky. They died in the twin towers of the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and in the Pennsylvania countryside. Some even died as heroes.
And they were all our brothers and sisters. They were all Americans. They were all murdered.
Because they were our brothers and sisters, because they were Americans, because they died for no good reason, we mourn their passing. We grieve for their families and friends. We grieve for all they left behind. We grieve for our nation. We grieve for ourselves.
We did not know them, they were strangers to us all, but they were members of our national family. They were participants in the American dream, and we mourn their loss.
In losing these brothers and sisters we have lost a part of ourselves. When they were murdered ... so suddenly, so finally, so senselessly ... a part of each of us was killed with them. They are gone from this earth, and we will never be the same again.
Please join me in a moment of silent prayer, as we ask God to bring some good out of such monumental evil.
May God have mercy on the souls of our lost brothers and sisters.
May God comfort those who loved them, and those who grieve for them.
It is impossible to understand the depth of the hatred we saw exhibited this last Tuesday, even as it played itself out in New York, in Washington, D.C., and in the Pennsylvania countryside. Even so, if we are to survive this gross insult to our American family, we must try to understand it, if only a little.
Somewhere in the backs of our minds we've known that America had its enemies. I don't think we understood the kind of enemy we have, and I'm sure we don't know why they hate us as much as they obviously do.
Nineteen young men, none of them out of their thirties, most of them in their twenties, willingly chose to die, just so they could kill as many of us as possible at the same time.
Nor was this a spur-of-the-moment act, done under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in the throes of insanity. The mayhem and destruction that played itself out last Tuesday was planned for months, if not years. Slowly and methodically these men, and those who helped them, gathered all the materials they needed, and took the training which would allow them to operate the weapons of their choice, all the while living among us as friends.
On the appointed day they abandoned their temporary homes in our neighborhoods, and traveled to the different airports they had chosen, from which they carried out their deadly plans.
As hard as it is to believe now, they were not totally successful. At least one team of young men was unable to take over the plane they had chosen, and left the airport without getting on the plane they had chosen. Another group missed their target of first choice. The plane which crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside fell short of its intended target, thanks to the heroic efforts of a few passengers who knew they were about to die, but decided to die without making even more Americans victims.
But they were successful enough. Thousands of our brother and sister Americans are dead, and our enemies called it an act of war.
Those who hate us with such deadly purpose have declared war on America, and we must wake from our slumber and respond. We have no choice, because they have given us no choice. They have said they will continue to attack us, perhaps the next time with even more deadly weapons, killing even more of our fellow citizens, and they will continue their war against us whether we make war on them, or not.
So be it.
As I'm sure many of you have done I have spent much time in the past few days watching my television as these events have unfolded. Beginning on Tuesday, and continuing right through to today, I have heard many voices calling for, no, demanding vengeance. Many of our fellow citizens want blood for blood. We must not forget, however, that "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."
Somehow, in some way, we must find a way to forgive these people who hate us so deeply. I know how unpopular such an idea is in our nation today, yet, the word of our God is clear. Vengeance is not ours to take. Vengeance is God's business, not ours.
Yet, what are we to do? If we overlook this heinous act, it will just be repeated, again and again. More of our people will be killed, more of our property destroyed, more reasons will be given us to mourn and grieve. Still, we must forgive our enemies.
But we are not called to tolerate their murderous acts.
Does the farmer hate the rats which make nests in his corn crib? No. They're just being the rats that they were born to be. That's what rats do. Still, the farmer doesn't allow them to continue living in his corn crib. He does whatever he has to do, as long as he has to do it, until every last rat is gone from his corn crib. And the farmer knows that, rats being rats, he cannot stop until every last rat is dead or gone. Leaving even one is the same as leaving them all.
Of course, it was not rats which took the lives of our brothers and sisters last Tuesday. It was evil. Evil is the absence of all good. Evil is evil. This evil has made its nest in our cribs, and we must be resolved to destroy this evil before it destroys us.
Our President is a man of good will, a loving man, a man who would rather smile than frown or sneer, even when confronting his enemies. Over the past few days, as I have watched him on my television, I have seen a man who has been deeply saddened by these events, a man who is grieving even as we grieve, but I have also seen a man with great resolve.
I have not seen a man who hates. I have seen a man who knows the job he has been called to do. I have seen a man who is resolved to do the job he has been given, no matter the cost, no matter the time it takes, no matter the difficulty and sacrifice.
It is his job to lead us in this war we did not ask for, and it is our job to follow him where he leads.
He has told us it will not be easy. No matter; we are as resolved as he.
He has told us it will take a long time. No matter; we are resolved.
He has told us it will have a great cost. No matter; we are resolved.
He has told us we will be called to sacrifice. We are resolved to sacrifice.
He has told us that we must not stop waging war until the last vestige of this evil among us has been eliminated. No matter; we are resolved.
Over the years here in America we have grown soft.
We will become stronger.
Lately, we have been lazy.
We will become industrious.
In our recent past we have become complacent.
Now, we care, and deeply.
Recently, we have come to call good evil, and evil good.
Now we see evil for what it is, and we will remove this evil from us, and from the world which spawned it.
We are resolved.
We do not forgive these murderers for their benefit. It would appear that they all were guilty of the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; our forgiveness will not do them the least bit of good. We forgive them for our benefit.
We forgive them so we can get past the hatred that their despicable acts have generated within us. We do not have the time or luxury to hate. Hatred, held long enough, will make us just as blind as it made those who struck at us. Blind hatred will make us lash out without regard to our targets or our proper objectives.
Righteous anger, on the other hand, will build in us an implacable resolve to rid the world of the evil which has made us each a target of its hate. Cold, unyielding resolve is what we will need to see this job through to the bitter end. And regardless of what you think today, the end will be bitter, very bitter indeed. We have been changed already by the events of the past week; doing what needs to be done will change us even more. That is our unwelcome fate, but if we either shirk our duty, or miss our objectives because we have been blinded by hatred, the fate of our children and grandchildren will be worse.
Be angry. Become resolved. Leave the hating to those who already suffocate from it.
Thank you for your time.
[I just hope too many don't stop at the word "forgive" - they're the ones who need to read it...]
I agree because there is also a Time for War. This is not the Time to Turn the Other Cheek. And a time to remember they didn't accomplish every evil deed they intended for us Tuesday. They meant to kill Bush and our Congress.
[I preached this today, and it was extremely hard to get through it all. Writing it was one thing; saying it all out loud was quite another.]
A hearty amen!
God bless you brother.God bless George Bush and God bless America.
and a big fat BUMP
We are resolved.
Thanks. Wonderful sermon.