This Sunday is National Grandparents’ Day, and we are excited to celebrate and honor the wonderful grandparents in our church family. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is a wonderful gift from the Lord, and we’re grateful for the impact that our ABC grandparents make every day. This Sunday, we will display a special photo loop featuring some of our church’s grandparents with their grandchildren. We will also honor and pray for them during our worship services, and the ABC Kids ministry will be making special crafts for children to give their grandparents. I encourage you to bring your extended family with you to church this Sunday, and be sure to take a picture at our special photo spot to commemorate the weekend.
While Sunday will be an exciting day, we must not forget that this weekend also marks an important milestone in our country. This Saturday is the 20-year anniversary of the tragic attacks that transpired on September 11th, 2001. I’m sure you can remember exactly where you were when you heard the devastating news that America was under attack. I remember vividly seeing people leave work early that day, schools send their kids home, and many churches being flooded with community members that evening. September 11th was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, but I will also always remember it as one of our brightest moments. We watched our courageous first responders run into burning buildings while others were running away from them. We heard the news of brave civilians on United 93 who sacrificially laid down their own lives to save countless others from another attack. We witnessed our military heroes step up ready to fight and do whatever was needed to defend our country from wicked enemies. 9/11 was one of our worst moments as a nation, but perhaps it was also one of our best.
The summer following 9/11, I had the opportunity to go to New York City to see Ground Zero firsthand. I remember looking at the massive wreckage the twin towers left behind, and all who were there began to experience a true sense of loss. I saw people from all around our country standing together to witness the devastation, and it certainly was a somber moment. However, I would also contend it was quite the unifying moment. It didn’t matter what your age or political ideology was, all of us were united with that same sense of loss. Moments of crisis often tend to unite people together, and I remember how proud I was of our nation rallying for the common good during that tumultuous season. I think we would all agree that we could use a renewed and unified spirit right now. We are divided on most things today, and my hope is that September 11th might be a moment to help us remember the powerful unity that our country needs.
As Christians, the Bible calls us to live as a model of unity. Paul says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV). We should always aim for restoration and agreement with one another in the family of faith. We should live in peace with one another because the Prince of Peace has come. We have experienced His peace, and that peace transcends all circumstances. Because of that, we should be of the same mind, with the same love, in full accord with one another (Philippians 2:2). When we model that kind of counter-cultural unity in our family of faith, it will most certainly be noticed by a world stuck in darkness.
God made you to be a difference maker for Him (Ephesians 2:10). Each of us has an opportunity to demonstrate His peace inside our church walls, but also in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools this week. Jesus says if we pursue meekness, mercy, and peace with others, we will indeed be blessed (Cf. Matthew 5:5-9). I encourage you to be a uniter this week and model the love and affection that we have received from Jesus Christ. This Sunday, we will remember and pray for the nearly 3,000 families who lost loved ones on 9/11, but we will also pray for the unity and peace that our nation desperately needs. I look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday as we gather with one mind to glorify Jesus Christ and meet with Him in this place. Have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you Sunday.