My daughter was a brand new kindergartner when the terrorist attack of 2001 happened. I remember the stark difference that I sensed between the world she got ON the school bus in and the world into which she was being dropped OFF. I remember looking into the sky and praying that the planes which I could see flying overhead would not suddenly switch course and begin to fly in the opposite way.
I remember a slight sadness that I had brought her into this world and wondered if I would have chosen to have a baby if I knew that this would happen in her world.
I was terrorised by the terrorist attacks of 9-11.
It was only two years after I'd lost Mom and Dad in the tornado and the crumbling buildings and debris and people wondering around and crying for their loved ones ripped my scabs wide open and I began to bleed as well. This time it was different , though. This time we all bled. This time, as I drove in traffic, wiping back tears to see the road and drivers on either side, they were weeping as well. We wept. We stopped. We hung our flags-all of us. We clamoured to represent the UNITED States of America.
Remember kids forcing red, white and blue plastic cups though chain-linked fences in the shape of the flag? Remember how EVERYONE tied ribbons to their car antennae? United we stood.
Now, I was not a Jesus follower yet, but I knew enough to pray for my enemy, and did.
I still do.
There was an event hosted by my radio station WOMC Detroit, called "Show of Hands for Freedom". We met at major shopping malls will empty billboard paper and listener, thousands and thousands of listeners lined up to dip their hand in red of blue paint and press it onto the sheet. The result was billboards hung in honor all over the city. As they waited, they would spontaneously erupt into song-"God Bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her from the night with the light from above."
We were united. It was beautiful. Broken and beautiful.
Now three things come to mind today...
One is a longing for that kind of united in our nation today and also a deep heart cry for that kind of united in the body of Christ. On September 11th of 2001, there was no rich man and guy on the line. There were Americans. There was no punk rocker and preppy. There were Americans and we KNEW on that day and the days that followed that in was the tremendous blessing of being Americans that gave us the FREEDOM to be whoever of whatever we wanted to be.
Now, I started following Jesus about two years after the attacks. Enough time for us to still be united and vigilant. What softened my heart to the idea of Jesus, was his followers. I met some humble, kind, loving, giving people who professed to be Christians. They were not like what I had seen or experienced from the church in the past. They were Earthy and fun. Their kids obeyed them and their marriages worked. They talked about books...not just the Bible either. They DIDN'T talk about politics. They prayed about EVERYTHING and when they did, they spoke to Jesus like he was right here with us. The spoke the Father like He was listening and loving and willing to help His children.
Plus....I could see the Father answer the prayers and provide for His children-my new friends.
I pray today that the Father would send His Holy Spirit to His church today. That He would create a Body united under the Banner of Love and that as we look at each other-we see past the dividing lines of politics and the age of the Earth and all the other variations in our free experience with a living and loving Creator and as we did on September 11th, when we just say Americans, we would just see Jesus.
The other thing that eruption of the song "God Bless America" in the mall reminds me of now, although I had no idea of it in 2001, is it's mirror in the book of Exodus.
"Stand beside her and guide her though the night with the light from above" In Exodus 13 we read
21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Jesus says in John 8:12 (New International Version)
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Today, remember. Remember. Remember.
I know, the world keeps turning and at some point, it becomes okay to have swap-meets and block parties on September 11th. It seems we've reached that point. I suppose that's a good thing. Heck, on this years anniversary of the tornado my listeners and I did a Joy Flash Mob and the Tigers home opener. Yet, when I did it, I did it as a celebration of happy memories as an offering of gratitude the Father in Heaven for sending my parents to me and as a recognition of His seventy to take them Home in His perfect time and in His perfect will.
Today, rejoice in anyway that you (and the Bible) see fit, but Brothers and Sisters I beg you, in light of all that Christ has done for us and under the banner of His full blown freedom, UNITE.
Father, we thank you that you've blessed us as Americans and Jesus followers.
Please send your healing power to the families who have lost loved ones in the September 11th attacks. Send your peace to them today and always. United this country. Unite your church.
God, Bless America. God, Bless all of creation.
Thank you for guiding us. Help us to follow you and to be bearers of your light in dark places. Make us bold. Make us brave. Make us humble. Help us to be more like you. Help us to remember your sacrifice and give us willing and sacrifical hearts. Let your kindgom come.
In Jesus name.