Thoughts About Remembering, on 9/11

There are only three hours left of 9/11 here in Indiana, and there in New York, and there at the Pentagon, and also there in Pennsylvania.

Except for those who were present, or whose loved ones were lost, I suspect that most of the remembering is over for today and this year.

Remembering is an exhausting task. In a world where we hear and know about a million lives beyond our own, how much remembering can a single person handle?

And yet remembering is vital to our survival – not primarily our bodily survival, but our inner soul survival.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a remembering God.

“Remember when I brought you out of Egypt. Remember when I comforted your sorrow. Remember when I called you my own. Remember when I calmed your distress. Remember when I met your needs. Remember these words of mine.” 

The incarnate Lord Jesus Christ is a remembering God.

“Eat this bread. Drink this cup. Do this in remembrance of me.”

He tells us to remember. Over and over and over again.

Just as importantly, He listens as we lament and ask Him to remember. Over and over and over again.

“Remember your compassion and unfailing love. Remember your covenant promises. Remember me, LORD.”

Remembering what happened on 9/11 is important and significant to each of us in different ways and degrees. We must not forget.

But it is infinitely more important that we remember God’s love (lavished on us), God’s majesty (visible in creation), God’s forgiveness (available because of the cross), God’s grace (shared with His children), and a thousand other things flowing from the heart of God.

Remembering is a discipline. Remembering takes practice. Remembering takes patience.

Regardless of the circumstances, like the Psalmist we can (and must) say:

I suffer. I ache. I cry. I weep. I break. 

But I remember….

And because we remember, we can live. Regardless. In the midst of the darkness. Today and tomorrow. The joy, hope, grace, and peace that come from remembering are there for all; we can drink their sweetness – today, tomorrow, forever – straight from the heart of the God who himself remembers.


[15 years ago – before the blogging era – I was a newspaper columnist. My original thoughts, written while I watched the events of 9/11 unfold on my television, can be read here.]