September 11, 2023

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” – Psalm 94:18-19

It was 22 years ago today that our world changed. Early in the morning, on September 11, 2001, the United States experienced the worst terrorist attacks in our history. These terrible attacks killed 2,977 people and 19 terrorists. We were gripped by fear as we watched buildings fall in New York City, and planes crash at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I remember gathering around the TV that day.  I was on staff at First Methodist in Altus, OK.  We only had one TV in the building and it was in our Youth Room. We gathered around and watched as the events of that day unfolded. We were in shock as more and more images emerged. We were in disbelief that something like this could happen in the United States. We were scared that more acts of terror were planned for that day and the days to come. Fear took hold quickly as our minds raced with the possibilities of things to come.

It does not take events like those that took place 22 years ago to bring fear into our lives. We are easily frightened. We see challenging news reports each day. Life brings trials to each of us. Our imaginations borrow trouble from an unknown tomorrow. Each of these are enough to almost paralyze the strongest among us. Fear is present in our lives, but God is at work bringing support and joy every day of our lives.

Today, we remember the tragic events that took place New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We remember the innocent victims of that day and keep their memories alive in our hearts.  It is also a day for us to look back and remember that God offers peace and hope amid the acts of terror.

Beyond the TV room, I also remember a full sanctuary as God’s people gathered to pray for wisdom, comfort, and peace. God was in both rooms. And, God is at work today, bringing hope and peace to all. As we remember those who died, those who lost loved ones, let us also remember that we can go to God and find the consolation that brings us joy (Psalm 94:18-19).

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship