A Hopeful Lamentation from President Harrison on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Found on the Office of the President on the lcms.org website;

 


September 8, 2011
A Hopeful Lamentation
A Statement on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

On Sunday, September 11th, the world will stand still as the first post-9/11 decade comes to a close. As I pause to pen this note to the church, I’m flooded with a swirl of disparate and even conflicting thoughts and feelings. I recall the progression that morning from interest that a “small plane” should have hit the World Trade Center, then the shocking news of a jet airliner hitting the first tower, by mistake? Then the second. The Pentagon. The plane down in Pennsylvania. Confusion. Disbelief. Fear. Frustration. Anger. Revenge. All of that took place for me in the LCMS International Center from which I write now. We all have a story.

Having visited Manhattan the week after the event, and then Ground Zero later, speaking with our LCMS brothers and sisters who lost family and friends (one dear brother shared with me, as we surveyed Ground Zero on an anniversary years later, that he had lost 30 friends that day), I feel ashamed even to write of my own insignificant thoughts. This week the pain that invaded the lives of thousands upon thousands is re-lived, as though the event were just last week. Our own struggles in the Missouri Synod at the time cause me deep lamentation still. Lord, have mercy upon us all. But it is a hopeful lamentation.

The people of the LCMS responded in overwhelming generosity. Thousands upon thousands were assisted through Lutheran Disaster Response of New York (LDRNY), to which we provided funding. We assisted children who lost parents, provided tuition, counseling, care and much more. LDRNY concentrated on help for victims’ families, and was a major force in the September 11th Families’ Association, which throughout it all has been committed to attending to the concerns and needs of affected families.

The Lord Jesus Himself, in the face of the profound suffering He would undergo for the sins of the world, prayed, “Take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Thine be done” (Matt. 26:39). And so it is human and by no means wrong for those so terribly hurt by the senseless carnage 10 years ago, to lament their loss and pain even today, and to cry out, “Why, Lord?” Somehow, in an unfathomable way, the Lord’s hand is not shortened and His universe is still His, despite the carnage of a few madmen. And like His very cross—which appeared senseless and pointless and an end of all hope—so this suffering is purposeful. “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). At the last, we have one thing to say. One thing to hope. One thing to trust. And that is Christ.

Let us join in prayer for the LCMS Atlantic, Southeastern and Eastern Districts, and for all their leaders and people, for the witness of the Gospel in New York from Ground Zero, to the Pentagon, to Pennsylvania and beyond. Let us pray for our nation, our president and the military, for faithfulness in duty and an increase of all honorable vocations in public and military life. Let us pray especially for those who still suffer the loss of loved ones. Grant faith, O Lord, in the resurrection and in Your blessed Gospel. Let us pray for our enemies, for justice and for peace. And finally, as we lament this sinful world of pain and loss, let us lament in hope. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.

“Through [Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2).

Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

A Hopeful Lamentation from President Harrison on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 — 4 Comments

  1. “… despite the carnage of a few madmen.”

    Actually, rather than “a few” the carnage was conceived, organized, planned, supported, and executed by significantly more than “a few” terrorists.

    And rather than “madmen”, or more specifically, the terrorists were Mohammedans.

  2. Mark Steyn has his own type of lamentation column, Let’s Roll Over”, commenting on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and lamenting the wretchedness of political correctness. Here is a brief excerpt:

    As Mayor Bloomberg’s office has patiently explained, there’s “not enough room” at the official Ground Zero commemoration to accommodate any firemen. “Which is kind of weird,” wrote the Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle, “since 343 of them managed to fit into the exact same space ten years ago.” On a day when all the fancypants money-no-object federal acronyms comprehensively failed — CIA, FBI, FAA, INS — the only bit of government that worked was the low-level unglamorous municipal government represented by the Fire Department of New York. When they arrived at the World Trade Center the air was thick with falling bodies — ordinary men and women trapped on high floors above where the planes had hit, who chose to spend their last seconds in one last gulp of open air rather than die in an inferno of jet fuel….

    In Shanksville, Pa., the zoning and permitting processes are presumably less arthritic than in Lower Manhattan, but the Flight 93 memorial has still not been completed. There were objections to the proposed “Crescent of Embrace” on the grounds that it looked like an Islamic crescent pointing towards Mecca. The defense of its designers was that, au contraire, it’s just the usual touchy-feely huggy-weepy pansy-wimpy multiculti effete healing diversity mush. It doesn’t really matter which of these interpretations is correct, since neither of them has anything to do with what the passengers of Flight 93 actually did a decade ago. 9/11 was both Pearl Harbor and the Doolittle Raid rolled into one, and the fourth flight was the only good news of the day, when citizen volunteers formed themselves into an ad hoc militia and denied Osama bin Laden what might have been his most spectacular victory. A few brave individuals figured out what was going on and pushed back within half an hour. But we can’t memorialize their sacrifice within a decade. And when the architect gets the memorial brief, he naturally assumes that there’s been a typing error and that “Let’s roll!” should really be “Let’s roll over!”

    And so we commemorate an act of war as a “tragic event,” and we retreat to equivocation, cultural self-loathing, and utterly fraudulent misrepresentation about the events of the day.

  3. Everyone concentrated on the “victims’ families”… most of them executives with insurance. (Yes, some restaurant cooks and bus boys on the top floor and some janitorial staff…)

    The families of the firemen and police who died trying to save those people… “not so much”.
    Those who lived and got lung diseases from the polluted air at Ground Zero. “less than that”, I think. And 10 years later, pretense that they don’t exist!

    [IMHO, the surviving firemen would have been lowering themselves to associate with that “elite” crowd of politicians, all sorts!]

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