This Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Most of us refer to is simply by the date. Television and media schedules are already packed with retrospective programs, one of which aired last night. There is something about anniversaries divisible by five or ten that amps up these memorial programs, or their alternative—a deep desire not to be reminded at all.
Here in Blacksburg, we have our own date to signify a different tragedy. Our reactions to the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11th are probably similarly mixed. But remembering is seldom a choice. Our memories have a life of their own. They come to us unbidden, at times in ways that hurt but that also help build meaning.
Every year the flag is placed in the narthex on the Sunday closest to September 11th. This year, with the date falling on the Sabbath, we have printed the names of those who died and posted them on the wall outside Fellowship Hall. Those who want to walk along the wall and see the names can do so. Only the names are given, grouped according to where they were: at the Twin Towers, on a plane, or at the Pentagon.
The core belief of Christianity is that God chooses to bring life out of death. Jesus’ own death was unjust, and his resurrection transforms all forms of brutality, in the past and today. God is still choosing life out of death. As we worship this Sunday, may we remember that every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection.
Scripture Readings for Sunday, Sept. 11: 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10
The prayer list can be found here.