Pastor Gary Lewis
United We Stand - Reflecting on 9/11
‘United We Stand’ A Reflection on 9/11
By Senior Pastor Gary Lewis
Some anniversaries are joyful occasions, but not this one.
Twenty years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists took control of four passenger airliners. Two were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third slammed into the Pentagon. And the fourth was heading toward Washington, D.C., but crashed in a Pennsylvania field when passengers bravely overwhelmed the terrorists.
Almost 3,000 people died, 25,000 were injured, and many others suffered long-term health problems.
The act of terrorism was like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in that it drew Americans together in the face of a common enemy. The motto “United We Stand” appeared everywhere. Flags were flown, and churches were packed. Partisan differences were put aside, Muslins joined with Christians to condemn the attack, and Congress even sang “God Bless America” outside on the East front steps of the Capital Building.
Sept. 11 was a day of horror, but it pulled Americans together in a beautiful way.
The prophet Isaiah has words that are appropriate for this anniversary. They not only take us back to 2001, but they point us to the future and lay a challenge before us. “The Lord God helps me,” says Isaiah; “therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7). These words matched the attitude of our country in the days after 9/11. We turned to God for help, and we found that God upheld us. We showed unity and resolve, setting our faces “like a flint” on the challenges of national security and respect for our brothers and sisters.
We were not disgraced, and for that we can be thankful. But the challenges of 2001 are not behind us. If anything, they are bigger than ever.
If we cooperate with God, then we will make an amazing discovery: God will help us. In the face of any hardship, Isaiah was able to keep moving forward, because the Lord was offering assistance. The God “who vindicates me is near,” said Isaiah. “Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together” (v. 8).
Such words were inspiring in the aftermath of 9/11, and they can be helpful to us today. We are always stronger as a community than we are as isolated individuals, so the challenge for us is to trust God and stand up together.
United we stand.