Total Pageviews

08 September 2011

Looking Back to September 11, 2001

When in the summer of 1985 I made New York City my home, this small town kid from Northern Germany was overwhelmed by this city's sheer size. On my first birthday here, my fellow chaplains took me to the top of the World Trade Center. Watching the traffic from the observation platform, far removed from the bustling chaos down below, I felt intimidated, but captivated as well.

My first sermon after 9-11, on St. Michael's Day (September 29), began as a simple narrative which used snapshots from my own experience: waiting for family members searching for loved ones at the vast Family Assistance Center on Pier 94; breathing in ashes from Ground Zero near the Fulton Street Station; ascending to the top of the Empire State Building on the night of its reopening and hearing the utter silence as everyone looked South.

That St. Michael's Day we realized that our "why" questions need no answers, that they are really statements about how desolate and alone we feel in the midst of tragedy. We spoke of God as the all-suffering, who takes us by our hand, and lovingly lets us know that -- no matter what happens -- there is One who continues to be committed to beauty and harmony in the world, to wholeness, and health and salvation.

Our spiritual brokenness came into view. As people in despair, we needed to re-member, to make God part of our lives again. We remembered that "he's got the whole world in his hand", and that all time is God's own. We reassured each other that no one will need to journey alone, as God is waiting to meet us on the road.

(This first was published in German, in the March 2002 edition of the magazine, Zeitzeichen)

No comments:

Post a Comment