There are so many details we’ll never forget about that day: where we were when we heard the news. How we heard it. Who we were with.
We’ll never forget the shock, the horror, the tears. We’ll never forget holding our kids just a little closer. Calling our parents to check in with them and tell them we love them.
We’ll never forget the days and weeks of endless news coverage. Stories of loss. Stories of heroism. Revelations of who had done this to us.
We’ll never forget how our lives changed in an instant. Even if we knew no one who perished, we know that some of our freedoms did. Much of our naivety did.
There is much we’ll never forget, but there is much we’ve already forgotten.
We’ve forgotten that America didn’t lose its innocence that day. None of us have ever possessed innocence to begin with.
We’ve forgotten that we possess in ourselves the same impulses that drove our enemies. We may not act on those impulses, but we most certainly have them.
We’ve forgotten that this wasn’t only about hijacked planes and falling towers, but that those things pointed to something deeper within the human condition.
We’ve forgotten that this wasn’t us vs. them. America vs. a terrorist cell. Christian nation vs. Islamic radicals.
We’ve forgotten that our hope doesn’t lie in secure borders or stronger airport screening measures or a new and improved executive branch of government.
The gospel points us back to what we’ve forgotten. It reminds us that – just like the men who flew planes into buildings – we are the owners of idolatrous, deceitful hearts. We crave power. We lust after control. True, that may never manifest itself the same way, but the self-seeking desire is most certainly there.
The gospel reminds us that we don’t find our hope in the heroic efforts of the brave men and women who ran into crumbling buildings, who took controls of a doomed plane, who comforted those who were mourning. As deep as our gratitude runs towards those heroes, they must point to a greater Hero…one who died to save us, but then rose to rescue us.
The gospel reveals that terrorists needed a Savior. Heroes needed a Savior. Victims needed a Savior.
And so do you.
And so do I.
Today we mourn those who were lost. We give thanks for those who sacrificed for others. We show honor to those who are still fighting for our freedom a decade after the attacks. But we also must remember what we’ve forgotten:
Jesus is our hope.