We will Remember Them ... Or Will We?
Most of us remember exactly where we were when we heard the devastating news on September 11th, 2001.
That gut-wrenching moment is not easily forgotten. And neither should it be. I was on holiday in Canada, just across the border from the USA, in Ontario. We heard the news from a tearful woman working at some show-homes in London, Ontario. Work came to a standstill. Our plans came to a standstill. And, with all around us, we watched the scenes unfold before our eyes. Scenes that were too horrific to seem real. Scenes we wished weren't real.
But real they were. And the consequences of that day are all too real for thousands and thousands of people. Mothers lost sons: nothing can ever change that, nor end that grief.
Wives lost husbands and children lost fathers and mothers, their lives snuffed out by wicked deeds of wicked men. That day changed lives forever.
And today we have passed the 10-year anniversary, and some may wonder why it is necessary to keep remembering.
Others wonder how anyone can ever forget.
But we are so prone to forget. I was reading a couple of days ago these words:
"And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel. And Joshua .... died.
"And also that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel." (Joshua 2: 7, 8, 10)
Is this for real? There came a generation, just shortly after Joshua had died who didn't know the Lord, and who didn't know what He had done for Israel.
The Lord had taken them, as a nation, out of the idolatry and slavery of Egypt. He had led them, fed them, kept them as a nation and then given them a nation - a nation for which they hadn't worked.
What they had experienced and what they had seen is almost beyond words. But a generation coming after Joshua forgot it all.
It takes my breath away. But clearly, the children were not being told what great things God had done. And in a generation or two, it was forgotten.
And we think we'd never do this. Right?
But, if we are saved, then we have also been taken from the bondage of our Egypt, we have been granted life, we have been fed spiritual food in abundance, and one day, we will reach our Promised Land. Our Saviour gave His life for us, and to think of God incarnate, taking to Himself humanity so He could suffer the wrath of God for us; so He could die for us .... there are no words sufficient for the praise we ought to be offering. But God, in His wisdom, gave us a Remembrance Day, so we would never forget what our Lord did for us.
"Take," He said, "eat. This is my body which was broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me." And we partake of the Lord's Supper to 'remember His death until He come'.
See, God knew that even for this greatest wonder ever - that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - we would have to have specific times to remember.
And so it is right for nations to remember. We say we will never forget. But nations ought to follow God's example and set us days where we are to remember times of great sorrow, or times of great liberation.
To any of you who suffered personal loss on this day in 2001, or as a result of what happened on that day, I know that I cannot enter into your suffering. But you have my heart, and you have my prayers.
For the rest of us, let us commit to never, ever forgetting.