Just over ten years ago as the Twin Towers fell in New York City, we counted our blessings, prayed for healing for those directly impacted, took extra time to give our spouses and children an extra tight hug, and asked for forgiveness from those we had wronged.
In those moments we looked at each other differently — realizing just how fragile life is, realizing that life is about more than the possessions we accumulate or the trips we take. We appreciated and thanked God for all those we love: our spouses, our children, our parents and siblings, and all the friends we have shared with over the years.
Many of us felt as if God was trying to tell us something. “Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults” (Sir 27:30-28:7).
We made heartfelt promises, to pray more, hug more, be more patient, be more compassionate, and judge less.
We were also reminded of our need to forgive not only those closest to us, but also the perpetrators of this devastation. “Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Mt 18:21-35). So we also promised to forgive more and be more merciful to those who cause us to sacrifice or to suffer. We understood in that moment that this is what Jesus was calling us to do.
But as our deacon preached on Sunday morning, “Change is not about words, change begins in our hearts.” It is about a change in our attitudes and the things we DO, not about the promises we make.
So, how many of these promises have we kept? Did we say it in the moment and after a time forget what we were reminded of in that instant? Did we return to living our lives “status quo” with more time for things than for people?
Did we truly “change our hearts?” Are we doing things differently now because of this moment in history? Are we listening to what God is telling us, living our faith, believing and changing our hearts to conform to His will instead of ours?
May we be blessed in keeping the promises we made on 9-11-01.
Heavenly Father, You are all forgiving, all loving and all merciful. Help me to treat those I love and those I meet in the same loving, merciful, and forgiving manner as You treat me. Thank you for the people in my life that You have blessed me with to serve and to love. May I continue to be reminded that life and those I love are what is truly important. Help me to take the time to pray more, love more, and forgive more. Amen.