Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 (NIV)
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1: 4, 5 (NIV)
It is a time for us to remember. It was a time of darkness.
And as many of us did, I, too, watched many of the ceremonies yesterday from locations in New York City, the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and from coast-to-coast, as we remembered again the darkness of the horrific attacks of ten years ago against our Nation.
The best I can remember that day, is that it was a few minutes after 8:46 am, on a cool and sunny Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. My bride Lynda reached me by phone. I remember the place and street where I was driving as her halting words tumbled through the earpiece of my cell phone—
“A plane has crashed into one of the Towers of the World Trade Center…”
She wanted me to know of the tragedy. Reports were sketchy as to whether it was accidental or not. We hurt together in that moment, and the only thing we knew to do, or could do to help at that moment, was to pray. We prayed.
Minutes later my phone rang again. Lynda’s faint voice trembled with emotion as she did her best to tell me that—
“A second…a second plane…has hit the south Tower of the World Trade Center…”
We cried and prayed together unintelligibly through the numbness which had now overcome us. The reports kept coming—high-jacked commercial airliners, the Pentagon was smoldering, another plane had crashed in an empty field somewhere in Somerset County, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Air Force One was en route back to our Nation’s Capital from a previously scheduled trip to Florida.
Emotions across the Nation and world swirled in confusion and grief. Words came to mind that I had long ago committed I would never use again. Feelings of anger, retaliation, sorrow, heartache, and despair gripped me. I closed the door to my office and gathered the faces in my heart of all whom I loved. And through the tears I dug deep for something, for some meaning, something to cling to, something good, anything, a direction, even a faint glimmer of hope.
That evening the President addressed the Nation on national television. A week later, on Thursday evening, September 20, 2011, after nineteen speech drafts and six secret rehearsals, President George W. Bush addressed the Nation again before a joint session of Congress. His words resonate still…
“In our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us.”
In one unified voice, every member of Congress joined hands on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to sing their allegiance to our Country and each other. The healing would take time, but the determination had set in, as only it can, in America. Other heroes from every corner of this land rose up when and where they were needed to begin to rebuild our lives and Nation.
Yesterday and today, and all the days which follow, are all a time to remember. A time to remember all those who gave their lives that day in a horrific act of cowardice and war. A time to remember all those who gave their lives that day in noble acts of courage when others needed them. And it’s time once again, in their memory and honor, and for others like them throughout our history, to step up and decide who we are, and what we stand for as a people, and as a Nation.
A curtain of darkness lowered over all of us for a time ten years ago. It has happened throughout history in so many other ways and so many other places. And it happens in the privacy of our own lives. Perhaps you’ve had such a journey recently, where darkness seemed to lurk around every corner and seems to shroud every moment and the hope for our days ahead.
The best I can remember that day, it was a little later that morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, after the Towers had fallen, and the smoke could still be seen in the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and from the walls of the Pentagon, while searching through the rubble and darkness of my own personal heartache and despair, when I thought I heard these words descend from somewhere up above—
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness…and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
There it is. Something else for us to remember.
The Light. The Light that shines—in the darkness.
And it’s a Light that came into the world over two-thousand years ago in the darkness of a cold stable. It is an eternal reminder to us today and every day, that through all the rubble and heartache, struggles and despair, darkness and clouds of our lives, we will always see that Light of Christ shining through.
And down through the centuries that Light has continued to shine, and has risen through whatever history was going through at the time, and rises today—again and again—to shine and remind us that through all the rubble and darkness of any of the moments of our lives—Hope always reigns.
It always does and always will.
Just something else for us to remember—today, tomorrow and always.
In His Name—Scott