Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
God Bless Our Troops

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Thursday, September 11, 2008 - We Remember

There are in our lives certain events that stand out with perfect clarity - every detail etched into our minds. The first one I can remember is when I was 8 years old. My brothers and I had been anticipating a day of fun with family at my uncle's cottage in Caseville. We piled into our old green Pontiac and headed out.

My next memory is waking up with grit in my mouth and hearing my brother groaning next to me. I remember being led to a gas station across the street while kind people tried to keep me from looking back at our crumpled car and seeing my mother on the grass while emergency workers attended her. I remember being on a hospital bed and hearing my father telling my brother everything would be okay. (I was later told that my father was unconscious for hours after the accident.) I remember sharing a hospital room with another little girl who was recovering from a tonsillectomy. I remember how her parents brought her ice cream and brought some for me too. I remember the anguish my father suffered for years afterwards because the three people in the other car had been killed instantly.

But with time some memories fade. The wounds stop bleeding - the scars remain. We go on with our lives but they are changed forever.

Yes, we all have our own personal memories. And then there are the collective memories of every generation. For my generation it was Viet Nam, the assassination of President Kennedy, the day the Beatles hit the scene, the end of the war, the day Nixon resigned, the day Elvis died.

Seven years ago today I was pulling into the church parking lot for a staff meeting. Art Lewis was on the radio talking about the World Trade towers. I was running late and didn't catch all that he said, but I remember thinking that he was talking about the first World Trade Center attack back in the 90s, that it must be the anniversary of that event. As I came in the door, Marilyn, our DRE was coming out of her office and said that the towers had been hit. Our pastor insisted on having the staff meeting. I would venture to guess that he is the only one who remembers what was discussed that day. Later, in a Sunday morning homily, he made a reference to the 911 attacks occuring in response to something we did in this country. (Like living our lives, maybe?) I quit listening to anything he had to say after that. He was later removed in the wake of the priesthood scandal. He never quite got that either.

It wasn't until I arrived at work at the school later that morning that I heard the full story of what had happened. I work in the media center at a high school. The TVs were all on. Everyone was in a state of shock. I remember the principal coming on the PA and calling for 2 minutes of silent prayer - yes prayer - in a public school no less.

We held a prayer service at church that night. The pews were filled for weeks afterwards. This was true all over the country. We were hurting with the realization, on a Tuesday morning in September, that the most powerful country in the world was vulnerable and had been gut-punched. Our patriotism came out in full force. We were united. Stories of grit and courage emerged from the rubble of the twin towers. Incredible stories of faith and hope. We were bloody but unbowed.

It is now seven years later. Church attendance is again down. Some again voice their criticism and hatred of this country - a country where one is free to do that because of the blood that has been shed by generations of brave men and women.

For today, we are spared the rhetoric and politics of the current race for President. We will take a moment and remember those who died in this terrible tragedy. For today we will be united in our memories. But tomorrow, it will be business as usual.

Because with time some memories fade. The wounds stop bleeding - the scars remain. We go on with our lives but they are changed forever. If we are wise we will take a moment to thank God for our blessings and to remember where true power lies.

Word of the day
Lk 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Thoughts from the cornfield:
This was the Gospel I wrote about last week when I hit the wrong date on my lectionary. Somehow it was easier to write about it then than now.

God bless our troops!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Wow - interesting read!