This past Sunday, we paused to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11/01. The dramatic reading that we presented was based on something that the Skit Guys did for the 10th anniversary, but re-worked by our Creative Team Leader (and contributor of the photo above), Jenni Baier. In case you missed it, here’s what we read:
In preparation for our 9/11 remembrance, I asked Jenni to come up with some ideas and see what other churches were planning since 9/11 was a Sunday this year. She belongs to a few Facebook groups for church creatives, and one of them had posted a poll about 9/11. More than half of those who responded said it would be “business as usual” and that they didn’t plan to do anything different. In another group, someone responded to a similar post by saying, “What did you do for [Insert other tragedy here]?” Others didn’t seem to see any value in taking time out of a Sunday service to remember 9/11.
In the Old Testament, Israel became enslaved in Egypt (Ex 1:11) and God heard their cries (Ex 3:7) and sent Moses. After a spectacular and supernatural deliverance from Egypt, God gave the Ten Commandments and the great Sh’ma (“Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.”). He specifically instructed the Israelites to go out of their way to remember these things and to teach their children (Deut 6:4-9) so they would not forget.
We must choose to remember painful events in our history as a nation. As the saying goes, those who cannot (or will not) remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
We live in a world where so many things compete for our attention… and they’re not all bad things. But we must choose to remember and make time for what is important to us.
What are you determined to Never Forget?
Earlier this month, I shared in my Town Talk Guest Pastor column that we need to be deliberate and purposeful in remembering the flood victims in south Louisiana, and I rejoiced in the fact that so many local churches in this area are stepping up in creative and practical ways. But as time passes, it will be easier and easier for those of us who weren’t directly impacted to forget that the needs there are still great. (Incidentally, I am bringing a crew to Baton Rouge this Saturday to hang drywall. Contact me if you’re interested!)
Some “Never Forget” moments, like 9/11, are national. Some, like the flooding in South Louisiana, are more regional. And some are very personal.
Here’s a personal example. Before adopting our two youngest children from South America, my wife and I had three beautiful daughters. As they grew up I became increasingly aware of my awesome responsibility as a father to help shape them and their view of men. I came up with a way to daily remind myself of that responsibility - I gave each of my daughters a necklace with a heart-shaped locket that has a keyhole in the middle, and I put the “keys to their hearts” on a necklace that I wear every day. It was a daily reminder to never forget my obligation and calling. It was also a great joy to present my new son-in-law with the key to my daughter’s heart on their wedding day! But I still wear those keys every day to remind me to never forget.