Even though the tragedy of 9/11 happened more than a decade ago, it still impacts America and the world. Even though time has passed, we still feel the pain and grieve over the victims. Even though eventful years have come and gone, most of us can remember exactly where we were when we heard the news — and the grief we felt. Even though the terror of 9/11 elapsed in a few hours, the world feels its effects today.
Remembering 9/11, though painful, can help us. There are reasons to remember 9/11 — even though some memories hurt. Recalling such events in a few moments of prayerful silence can help to clear the cobwebs, stabilize our soul, and cause us to look to God in humble dependence.
Remembering 9/11 provides unity in a time of division.
It is somewhat ironic that during the fever pitch of patriotic fervor — the Republican and Democratic National Conventions — we remember one of the most tragic yet unifying events in the history of the United States. On September 11, 2001, the country was caught up in a far different kind of fervor. During a rare moment, we were united. We were united because of our shared hurt, and the desire to defend against future terror. Looking back to the events of 9/11 can help shape the way we look at our polarized political landscape today.
Remembering 9/11 encourages us to stand for justice in the face of violence and hate.
To remember 9/11 is to remember the raw hate that inspired the terrorists attacks. At the same time, it helps us to recall our responsibility to “do right; seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17). Christians are called to fight against the injustice of the world, and to behave as Christ would.
Remembering 9/11 helps us to grieve with those who still grieve.
Those who have lost a loved one know that the grief lingers long after the events have passed. 9/11 will always bring up painful memories for thousands of people who lost a father, mother, son, or daughter. As Christians, we should “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
Remembering 9/11 motivates the spread of the gospel to people trapped in darkness.
Whatever ideology it was that inspired such maniacal destruction is a dangerous ideology indeed. In the face of violent opposition, Christ exhorted his followers to “preach the gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15). That need is greater than ever, since false religions are growing with astonishing speed. 9/11 can serve as an evangelistic catalyst. We preach a gospel of peace, and should deliver this peace to those who are deluded by the thirst for violence (Ephesians 6:12).
Remembering 9/11 drives us to our knees in passionate prayer.
“Be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). What can we do in the face of the kind of evil that is still felt and fought to this day? We are not overcome by it (Romans 12:21). Instead, we pray for God’s will to be done. We pray for justice. We pray for our troops who defend against terror. We pray for our country. We pray for God’s kingdom to come. We pray.
After eleven years, it’s hard to believe that 9/11 actually happened. It was the same way on the original 9/11, too — an overwhelming sense of numb shock and surreal horror. Is this really happening? we probably asked ourselves.
It definitely happened. The gravestones, photos, books, documentaries, websites, footage, and raw memories all testify to the fact that 9/11 happened. And its consequences are still felt today. Let us not fear to remember 9/11, and let it change us into more loving and God-glorifying citizens.