September 15, 2021

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

Tragedy is unavoidable. I wish that were not a true statement. I can think of few greater tragedies than what happened in our country on September 11, 2001 – those who hijacked those planes that early morning, destroyed buildings, planes, and ended 2,996 lives. This tragic day changed our world forever.

The lives that were lost that day in New York, Shanksville, and Washington D.C. were unsuspecting people who woke up, said goodbye to their families, left home, and never returned. Our world changed on 9/11, but these 2,996 people had families that will never be the same. They experienced a loss that could never be replaced in their homes. It was a tragic event for our world and a disastrous loss for these families.

When tragedy happens, we immediately begin asking ‘Why?’  We wonder, “How did this happen” or “Who is responsible” or “Why would someone do such a terrible thing?”  This is a natural reaction. We want to understand, although there is no reasonable excuse for evil. We also want to prevent the same tragedy from happening again. All of this is understandable, however, I think the most important thing to do after tragedy is to find ways to overcome evil with good.

The investment bank of Sandler O’Neill & Partners demonstrated the ability to overcome tragedy with kindness. This small investment group was located on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. On 9/11, 66 men and women from Sandler O’Neil and Partners lost their lives. Just a few days later, a few survivors of the bank and friends established a large fund to send the children of the 66 employees to college – any college they chose.  Now, 20 years later, many of them have completed school.  54 children have attended universities such as Stanford, Notre Dame, and Boston College.  It has been a blessing to each of these families that lost so much.

The tragic events of 9/11 left each of us in shock. Amid this disaster, people worked to do good. We all still feel the pain of that day, but 66 families also feel the comfort and joy of knowing their loved ones are remembered and work has been done on their behalf.  We cannot prevent all tragedy and stop all evil, but we can overcome these events with good. When we are intentional about doing good for others, we can change the sorrow that comes from tragedy to a joy that is everlasting.

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship