God’s blessing to you this late summer week!

Greetings Members and Friends of Second Congregational Church,
God’s blessing to you this late summer week!

Saturday is the twentieth anniversary of the attacks of September 11. Commemorative events will be held in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. For myself, I will not be watching the images of the actual attacks because they bring back such difficult feelings and memories.

Often on anniversaries, one is provided an occasion to reflect on the events of the past and life today. Wedding anniversaries are (usually) happy events with hope-filled and often funny memories. Remembering September 11, 2001, is more somber and lends itself more to reflection and pondering.

One question to ponder is, How are things different now after 9/11 compared to how they were before? The answer depends on how you take the question. Internationally, things are different now following wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the “Arab spring” across the Middle East. A secondary effect of all this may be China’s increasing influence in the world.

Domestically, I have a much greater sense of our nation’s vulnerability. The attacks of 9/11 caused the nation to grind to a terrified halt. Because of the nature of terrorism, there is no guarantee that such an attack will never happen again. We are not impervious to terrorism.

Personally, I remember the first six weeks after the attack. The nation experienced a sense of solidarity that I’d never seen, and that I haven’t seen since. For that time, we were all in this together. We did what we could to show our support for our nation, our government and our neighbor. They could wreck our buildings, but they could not change who we are. We would not be defeated by terrorists!

It was disappointing when this “honeymoon” ended and we returned to partisan politics. If anything, that partisanship has grown rather than declined.

But for myself, I had seen something different and experienced something new. I really liked the feeling of “being in this together.” I also realized that even in the absence of a crisis and in an atmosphere of partisanship, we are STILL “in this together.” We still need each other to make this nation work.

As a follower of Jesus and as one called to the work of reconciliation, I believe that we as a nation are more than the sum of the differences that can divide us. I try to keep a couple ideas in mind each week. First, just because I listen to and seek to understand someone who disagrees with me, it doesn’t mean that I agree with them. Second, when someone disagrees with me, I try to remind myself that a disagree-ment is not a personal attack. Third, because I’m not God, I will fail at the first two.

In this week of grief, remembering, and reflection, may God bless us in all that holds us together, and may God bless us even more in all that divides us.


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