Pardon me for writing this update a day late! With other things on my plate, I clean forgot ‘till yesterday evening! By the way, there are great announcements down below. *Mwah!* Mouth-watering!
Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
September 16th 2021
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, though she may forget, yet will I not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15
As you well know, this past weekend we commemorated 20 years since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Now, half a week later, can we remember the mental, emotional, and societal state we were in 20 years ago at this point?
Many of us were still in shock: we felt like zombies walking around, as our sense of security was shattered. Though the attacks happened thousands of miles away, yes, they also happened in our hearts a little bit. For a moment the terrorists had their moment of triumph, in that they got us to fear.
But somewhere in those ensuing days/weeks, the resolve built to, rather than respond with fear, to respond with determination, with steadfastness, and with bravery. The term “never forget” became a rallying cry to live up to our highest ideals of bravery, democracy, and patriotism.
So, twenty years later, how are we doing? How is our resilience? Our sense of national pride and unity?
In terms of bravery, that continued steadfastly in the form of military members who went to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, ousting Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and ending their capacity to execute terror attacks on foreign soil.
But how about in terms of our unity as Americans? That few/several year period after 9/11 seemed a world away than the divisive and vilifying social and political atmosphere we see today.
It is a shame that it took a terribly tragic, outside event to get us to emphasize our commonality rather than our differences. Its arguably even more of a shame that, given that the ‘shock’ has dissipated during these twenty years, we’ve fallen back into the same pits of arguing and vilifying our ‘opponents’. Need it be so?
Part of what I love about Christianity is that it’s fundamentally positive in nature. The tent is big enough for all to enter into. We don’t need a “them” to vilify in order to have an identity as an “us”. Jesus as the center of our vision: our example, our goal, our destiny, makes anything else pale in comparison.
Yes, we are against certain things, but only as a consequence of the much greater thing that we are for. We are against alcohol and drug use because it compromises the single greatest gift God bestowed us with: our minds. We are against sexual promiscuity and pornography because they devalue and debase the noble greatness of the human body and love into twisted forms. We are against vice and violence in person or in entertainment, because glorifying it replaces the only One who is worthy of exaltation: God and Jesus His Son.
Big things, good and bad, will continue to happen around us. But we are called to be steadfast. Jesus says “He who stands firm ‘till the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) but we don’t generate this steadfastness from within ourselves, we take it from our great example, who is fundamentally dependable. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
So friends, let’s, yes, learn the lessons that can be gleaned from the terrible event of 9/11. But let’s remember that they will never take us to the apex of development or of worthy aspirations: only Jesus belongs in that highest place. I hope you, like I do, long for the day when God will place everything under Jesus’ feet (see 1st Corinthians 15:25).
May God bless you all.
Pastor Mark Tatum