It has been 21 years since that horrific day. I was a new pastor on 9/11. I just began my ministry, having been ordained just two days before. Those of us who can remember 9/11, probably remember where we were, and what we were doing, just like the people of the WWII generation remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked, or years later that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Some days are just etched in our memory and 9/11 is one of them.
Remember the unity we experienced as a country following 9/11? Well, that quickly disappeared and today 9/11 has come to serve as a day of remembrance for many of the trials we have endured as a nation over the past two decades. Divisive politics, drugs, and crime continue to tear at the fabric of our country. Sadly, we are perhaps more divided today than at any point in our nation’s history. We are weary. We wonder: will we get through these turbulent times? The answer from the pages of scripture is a resounding YES! “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:10).
There also is hope for the future because of God’s promises, fulfilled in Christ, at the cross and the empty tomb. As a Christian, I have hope, not just for this life, but for heaven and the life to come. 9/11 reminded us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we too will be called into eternity. I doubt if those people who got on those planes or who walked into the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon 21 years ago thought that it would be the last day of their earthly lives, but it was!
That’s why we need to be ready at all times to meet our Lord, our Maker and Redeemer. Don’t live your life on the fringe of the church. Your relationship with the Lord Jesus is not something that can be put off. All of us are mortal. All of us are going to die and so all of us need to be ready. Are you ready? Are you prepared for the Lord’s summons at any time? We desperately need a spiritual renewal in this country and in our lives. That’s why, on a day like 9/11,
the church should gather and remember. But the church should also look ahead with certainty and hope. There is always hope in Jesus. Today many around us
face a famine of hope. But as God’s people, we know where to point them.
Let’s get to work and point them to the God of all hope, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine