Never Forget…


Thoughts As We Approach Ten Years…

As I plan our special service of remembrance for 9-11 occurring this upcoming Sunday,  I am surprised at how difficult that preparation has proven to be.    For the last two weeks we have been inundated with images, videos, reflections, and more everytime we turn on the television or listen to the radio, and with a sincere  desire not to add to this overkill, I found myself continually challenged.    In retrospect, I kept asking the same questions;

  • How do I remember this day in a way unique to who the Asbury Community is?
  • How do we approach this day and this moment differently?
  • How do I pay tribute to the moment in a way that captures both the holiness and darkness of the day?
  • Is there a way to adequately look upon September 11, 2001 and not only remember and grieve, but to reflect and celebrate?

The message for this Sunday’s service has taken several weeks to prepare all the while struggling with this challenge.  Finally, as the service takes its final form, I look forward to bringing a myriad of thoughts and images to light.  I pray that I can do the day liturgical justice.     

Over the course of the next few days, I will be posting additional thoughts on this moment in our history on the jesseleeproject.org.    As I plan these posts, I thought it only appropriate  to begin with some words that have challenged me.  Re-reading these historic words a dozen times over the last few days, I find them taking on new meaning…both personally and in light of that moment 10 years ago. 

The words speak to me as we try to see clearly where we are today as people and a nation. I hope the words are familiar and need no great introduction.

Never Forget

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”

Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg Address – November 19, 1863

May God bless us as we each find the ways that fit best.   Move God move us towards the place where can stop, remember, and honor a moment made holy…not by us… or the constant media attention we give it…but by the pain, holiness, sorrow, and heroism of that day.   Amen.

****

Note:   We invite all those in the area of Chesterfield/Keene on Sunday to join us for this special service.   As a community we will gather & remember & acknowledge the fear and anxiety that arrived that morning while we celebrate the truth that in the dark moments heroism & hope often appears. After worship, we will have a short period of fellowship, again stressing the bonds of community that became so clearly evident & important ten years ago.  Service is held at 10:00am, and directions can be had by contacting Pastor Scott directly at PastorScott2007@yahoo.com or visiting our Facebook or Church Website (www.chesterfieldumc.org)

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