Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Will Never Forget: Two Different Reasons to Remember

I will never forget September 11th...

...because on September 11, 2011 our kids were baptized. The second Sunday of every month is when our congregation celebrates baptism and receives new members into the life and witness of our faith community. The second Sunday in September of 2011: the eleventh. So, needless to say, Amber and I will never forget the day when our kids entered the sacred and sending waters.

And we shouldn't. Baptism should indeed be something disciples of Christ always remember.

We remember to whom we belong.

We remember God's promise.

We remember we are only able to be faithful to God because, in Christ, God has first been faithful to us.

We remember we are a sent people, called to bear witness to God's future reconciliation of the whole world that is breaking into the here and now.

We remember that, by the Spirit, we participate in the dreams of God alongside the gathered and scattered people of God called the Church.

Each September 11th, Amber and I now remember the promises we made, alongside those who were gathered at Westminster with us, to raise and form our beautiful children in the Way of Christ.

But we also remember September 11, 2001.

I was a senior in high school. As I cut through the library after second period, I saw the t.v. screens and the smoking towers, convinced it was some sort of fictitious film. It wasn't. I was a peer counselor, a program designed to help students support other students. We did a lot of that on this day.

My dad was in Chicago for business when the rumors began that the "windy city" may be next.

The phones in the school offices were ringing off the hook, concerned parents who wanted their kids sent home.

That's exactly what our school did. My dad also hopped on the first bus out of Chicago and made it safely home the next day.

But that was certainly not true of all fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and others whose lives were lost through horrific acts of terrorism.

September 11th is a day to remember.

We remember that no nation is impermeable or immortal.

We remember how quickly people can flock to churches, synagogues, and mosques when tragedy strikes.

We remember how fast we return to or develop new prejudices, discriminations, and stereotypes.

We remember how easy it is to wage and warrant war.

We remember the fragility of life.

We remember lives lost and families who still mourn.

We remember the world is not the way God intended.

We remember heroes and sheroes.

We rememeber that humanity possesses the tremendous ability to unify and rally around one another in the midst of suffering.

We remember that we have a lust for retaliation and vengeance that cannot be satisfied by dollars or deaths, even those of our own.

We remember that we will do crazy things when we live in fear.

Septemeber 11th is certainly a day to remember. On this day, our family has both reason to rejoice and reason to grieve. On this day, our family holds in tension the memory of baptisms and the memory of history.

But we certainly remember. We will never forget.