Originally written on September 11th.
On this day 12 years ago, I had been pastor of RBC for two days. I was not on the job yet, but we had agreed on Sunday, September 9, 2001 to begin a new relationship as pastor and congregation. I have never regretted it, not even for one minute.
On that beautiful, clear, blue-sky Tuesday morning, I was driving to Washington, D.C., thinking about the changes in my life, full to the brim with anticipation. Mallary Binns was scheduled for surgery that morning, and I was thinking about him, as I listened to a Richard Rohr tape on non-violence. When my son, Jason, called to ask if I had heard about planes flying into the World Trade Center in New York, I was close to the George Washington Parkway. It was not long at all before I rounded a curve on the parkway, and saw a huge, dark cloud of smoke above the Pentagon.
Each of us has our own unique remembrances of that day, but what we share is a common memory. The images of that day in many ways are as fresh now as then, and we know hundreds of heart-wrenching stories. I’m thinking this morning about someone I know who was supposed to be on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. I did not know her that morning when I witnessed the dark cloud. At the last minute, she changed her flight because she wanted to take her sons to school.
Making a decision as a loving, devoted mother saved her, yet so many who loved their children were not spared. A beautiful September morning was shattered by the horror of human evil, and the mystery of human suffering. These moments of national nightmare also brought to the light the breathtaking beauty of human love. There were sacrificial acts of true heroism, an instant sense of community, and a sudden, universal awareness of what really matters.
We remember all of that, and so much more. And the very act of remembering is a prayer.