Gabriel's Horn, Pastor Tim, September, 2011

posted Sep 1, 2011, 6:55 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Sep 1, 2011, 7:05 AM ]
Dear Friends and Members of Leola United Methodist Church,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    It was an ordinary Tuesday in September. The sun was shining brightly on that late summer morning. I was working at church when my wife phoned and asked if I had any idea what was happening. I admitted I did not—the church did not yet have internet.
    She described what she was watching on television: a terrorist attack in New York City and Washington DC.  As we spoke, the first World Trade Tower crumbled to the street. Donna, watching in disbelief, could only say, “All those people.”
    I went to a nearby nursing home where I knew there would be a television. I had planned to visit a member of our church.   It was there that I saw the first image of the smoldering buildings. It was unbelievable.

    The evening Bible study was canceled. Instead, I put together a special worship service for that night.  Everyone I told about the special service agreed to call other church members.

    What I remember most from that service was the look on people’s faces as they entered the sanctuary: shock, disbelief, horror, and panic. The unthinkable had happened. People were truly shaken by the events of the day. 

    We prayed for the fire fighters, the emergency responders, and everyone involved in the rescue efforts in this national tragedy.  We prayed for the families who did not know the whereabouts of loved ones.  We prayed for the families who had lost loved ones.  And we prayed for our president and nation that night.  It was a sober service.
    Among the scriptures read that night was the letter to the Romans in which Paul asked, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (8:35) A couple of verses later Paul penned, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (8:38-39). These words brought a sense of comfort to us in the face of our uncertainty and grief.  When the unthinkable happens, God is still with us.  Even terrorists cannot separate us from the love of God.  No matter what, we cannot escape God’s love for us.

    This month marks the tenth anniversary of September 11.  Feel free to share your memories and thoughts of that day with me.

    No matter what, God has promised to remain faithful. We can call on God in the good times as well as the bad times, knowing that God is always with us. We learned from this tragedy that we need to trust in God especially in uncertain times.

    See you in church where we weekly proclaim God is with us, and where we join people of faith in singing, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Your Pastor,

Tim Smith