On this day twenty-two years ago the world was at peace. There were no major restrictions in travel; no fear of walking down the busy streets of most major cities. The day was just another mundane Monday in September. People were going about life as normal not knowing the greatest economic, geopolitical, and governmental shift was about to occur. The next day, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world changed forever.
Everything came to a standstill and by the time the dust and debris settled, 2,977 souls were lost. The sky was covered with smoke and fighter jets. All commercial airlines were grounded and the New York Stock Exchange closed. Financial institutions were either suspended or canceled. Militaries far removed from our borders were on high alert. For the first time, we had been attacked on the mainland.
Churches of all denominations saw a major surge in attendance. Even non-believers were reconsidering eternity. Prayers and ceremonies were a common scene. The soberness of the nation was never more known and the pain never more severe.
In time, both religious and patriotic pursuits began to fade. 9/11 seems far from a society fixated on redefining life. Church attendance in America is far below the pre-9/11 numbers. Covid also took more than just human life; it gave rise to totalitarianism. There were many who saw the virus as another sign of the end time, but prayers and the desire for faith were not as common as it was 19 years prior.
We said that we would never forget, but we’ve said that before. The church once sang how we would never forget what the Lord has done for us, but when the call for sacrifice, service, or worship is given, many do not respond. Many have forgotten.
I suppose that most won’t really buy into prayer, kingdom work, or complete consecration until another world tragedy takes place. My main concern is that the next one may very well be the last and it will be too late for church members to become sold-out doers and not hearers of the Gospel. Perhaps, I am just another preacher writing forgettable words. The prophets warned Israel, but the people did not change their lives. Noah preached for a full century without a single convert, but that did not stop him from speaking of the coming flood. So I will write on and hope that a change happens in someone’s life.
Today may be a day of peace, but we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole