Redeem what happened today in ways that only you can.
This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the coordinated terrorist attacks which took place on September 11, 2001. The world has changed in so many ways in the past 20 years that it is difficult to identify which of these changes are a result of the events of 9/11.
Twenty years ago, I had never heard of Pendleton, South Carolina, but one of the gifts of serving with a long tenured pastor is access to the rich history and background of a church’s story. Courtney Krueger served as pastor at FBC Pendleton from 1996 until 2015, so our paths overlapped for over 6 years. I remember him sharing about September 11, 2001 at First Baptist Church of Pendleton. The church did not yet have a sign with movable letters, so he quickly made a hand-written sign inviting the community to a prayer service that evening. As many churches did that night, the sanctuary filled with prayers and tears and community. People gathered to support one another in their grief and uncertainty and fear. Courtney offered a prayer which included the refrain: “Redeem what happened today in ways that only you can.”
Twenty years later, some of our questions and fears about those attacks have been resolved, but others have not. We face other fears and uncertainties, especially as COVID-19 continues to take the health and lives of so many. We continue to need the community of one another for support and encouragement, which has become more difficult as we navigate a global pandemic.
We continue to rely upon God, the only one who can redeem the pain and brokenness of this world. As we remember the events of 20 years ago, may we give thanks for the ways in which we have experienced God’s presence and redemption, and may we continue to call out to God, echoing the prayer of the psalmist: Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love. Psalm 44:26
Pastor Jennifer Rygg
September 7, 2021
image: 9/11 Memorial at night, NYC, photo by Jin S. Lee