9/11 and the Christian Life
At today’s 9/11 memorial service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, the Reverend Luis Leon suggested that each of these anniversaries presents us with a dilemma: how to remember that event appropriately while still pressing on with our lives. In my experience, it’s not been an easy balance to find.
The ability to press on with our lives, it seems to me, is a characteristically American strength. Historically, we have had a knack for bouncing back from disaster stronger than before.
But I wonder these days if we’re quite as good at remembering. We used to work hard at it: “Remember the Alamo!” during the Texas Revolution. “Remember the Maine!” in the Spanish-American War. “Remember Pearl Harbor!” for World War II. But “Remember 9/11”? Not so much.
I’ll admit, I’m really tired of the conflict in Iraq. I wish we weren’t there. I hate war. I hate killing. I hate hatred. Please understand that I’m thankful to be an American, and I’m very proud of most of our troops. I just wish they could come home. I guess I need to remind myself why they’re there.
Forgetting is easier. It’s painless, effortless, and all too natural. Unfortunately, it’s also bad for us. We grow only when we remember. We learn only when we recall. We bear up only when we bear in mind.
It’s that way in the Christian life, too. In a certain sense, remembering is the key to everything. I’m not talking about some sort of vast, comprehensive, infallible remembering that helps us get every single one of our little Christian duties done. No, the remembering we need to do is much more simple.
Paul told Timothy: “Remember Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim 2:8) Can’t get more basic than that.
Similarly, Jesus said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And later: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 Cor 11:24-25)
I think that’s Christianity in a nutshell right there: remembering Jesus. How He lived. How He loved. How He died. How He rose. How He reigns. How He’s coming back.
One more thing… It’s interesting to me to ponder what God chooses to remember… and not to remember.
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Is 43:25 (cf. Jer 31:34)How can He “not remember” our sins? Because unlike us, He always “remembers” Jesus.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me("Before the Throne of God Above" by Charitie L. Bancroft)