9/11 and Sunday Morning: How Should We Think About 9/11 on 9/11/11?
9-11-01 was a horrible day.
I remember where I was. I remember the second plane striking the tower. I remember the towers falling and the newscaster trying to explain what we were all seeing. I remember the president later standing on the ruins with a bullhorn.
I was horrified, and angry, and I felt a sense of nationalism that only tragedy and attack can birth. I wonder if this is how my grandfather felt when Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor. Surely it was similar. Instead of ships sinking it was buildings collapsing. Instead of sailors grasping for air, it was office workers jumping out of windows to their deaths, aflame.
So . . . what are we to do this Sunday, the 10th anniversary of that day? Ought we drape our services in the flag? Should we even acknowledge the anniversary as the gathered people of God? Is there a balance? What about a medley of “God Bless the USA” and “Mighty to Save”? Lee Greenwood meets Reuben Morgan. Sweet.
Some time ago, Kevin DeYoung blogged a few wise thoughts about Memorial Day that are equally fitting on the anniversary of 9/11. Here are his bullet points:
- Being a Christian does not remove ethnic and national identities.
- Patriotism, like other earthly “prides,” can be a virtue or vice.
- Allegiance to God and allegiance to your country are not inherently incompatible.
- God’s people are not tied to any one nation.
- While patriotism can be good, the church is not a good place for patriotism.
Earthly worship should reflect the on-going worship in heaven. And while there are many Americans singing glorious songs to Jesus there, they are not singing songs about the glories of America.
Feel free to weigh in on the matter. Full disclosure: we are planning a section of the service where we show a video from NAMB, have a time of prayer for the nation, and a word of pastoral exhortation. Then we will sing as a truly free people (John 8:32).