Twenty years ago on 9/11/2001, America was forever changed by an unimaginable tragic event that we will never forget. Within hours of the planes crashing into buildings, churches and synagogues were filled with people praying, healers and helpers showed up on the scenes, and we came together as one people like we never have before. We came together to console our grief, to bind up our wounds, and to give each other hope.
We lost so much on that day and the attacks in New York, Washington, and the loss of life in Pennsylvania changed us forever. It was a smoldering trauma that ignited a fuse of strife that continues today. The flames that event set afire in us, has over these past two decades become a destructive inferno against our common life as a people, bound together by ideals of justice, domestic tranquility, and common good. We are losing that unity of purpose, that common hope, and that mutual welfare. We are now on the verge of being forever changed beyond repair. Despite that unimaginable injury twenty years ago, we seem no longer able to be together in moments of tragedy but rather we are divided over the challenges we face today. We have forgotten what we shared, endured, and fought to overcome so many years ago.
,Today, we not only disagree with our fellow citizens about opinions and ideas, we are literally attacking and demonizing our fellow citizens over different viewpoints. We no longer set aside differences and embrace each other as our sisters and brothers like we did when attacked twenty years ago. The flame of division continues to burn and the evidence of that is found in the equally tragic event nine months ago when another enemy that we did not expect attacked our nation; ourselves… American citizens. On January 6 in our Nation’s Capital an attempt to undermine democracy was instigated by propagandized and misguided American citizens. That event nearly ended our democracy, when the very institution (Congress) was ravaged and overrun. Members had to retreat to hiding behind closed doors, cowering in fear from threats by their fellow citizens. This is not the narrative of America, but one found in other places and other countries. If not for the brave Capital Police that day, we can only imagine how bad that event might have been.
Despite the atrocities enacted, violence invoked, and hatred proclaimed that day, some of our leaders even now, still deny the reality of that event, its impact on our nation, and the truth of those several hours when America almost fell to an attack. Some of our people refuse to accept just how close we came to losing it all, and if we do not wake up soon to the truth, we will find ourselves ever closer to a fate worse than the one we faced more than 20 years ago. The adversaries of the American democratic republic stand against us today from without: Al Queda, ISIS, China, Russia, or other evil actors. The most lethal adversary to our republic comes from though within, and our failure to remain a diverse nation bound together by common ideals may not withstand the ongoing attacks.
In 18 months, we have tragically lost 652,000 American lives. From without, we have an invisible enemy, a pandemic whichrages on, even though we have the weapons to defeat it. Yet, we are fighting over wearing face coverings that really do save lives. Some elected leaders proclaim and our people consume destructive false information that purports wrongly that the vaccine is unsafe. We are fighting against a disease yes, but the battle seems to be against the values of union and even truth itself, and against our common welfare. We have the means to defeat the pandemic, but our divisive ideals are ripping the threads of our unity apart and yet, we keep battling on as the pandemic takes more American lives.
We have been forever changed by the tragedy of 9/11, and many of us fear for the future of our nation now, more than on that tragic day twenty years ago. I for one though have hope that we will find a way back together. To do so, we will need to seek Godly reconciliation within our divisions, and seek a commitment to a renewed unity of purpose. We will need to set aside our exclusive individuality, political warmongering, and the steady flow of social media disinformation. We we will need to sit with one another again and talk, listen, and become friends once again. We we will need to embrace compromise for the sake of unity.
Like so many Americans, who over the last two centuries have given their all to defend our freedoms in all the past battles of this great nation, we today must become the freedom warriors who are willing to sacrifice our personal needs for the common good. We must fight this pandemic together. We must set aside all the polarized stands that we have taken and which divide, and seek God’s wisdom and grace so that we might find common ground together, and so we might create solutions to our problems.
There is still hope that we will overcome this time of division and tragedy. There is hope that we will not fall like other nations who throughout history, allowed the enemies without and within to destroy them. The beauty and hope of the American experiment is found in our Constitution, which states We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. It is in these words that we find our common purpose as a nation. May we never forget 9 11, but may we never forget how fragile this great nation really is, and how we must once again accept the mantle of the holy God-given stewardship of these ideals that we have been given. May God help us.
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.BCP, p.820