My church last night held a superb 9/11 remembrance. The video clips were familiar but always sobering as we relived the events of that day. The personal testimonies were compelling. Remarks by the mayor, chief of police, county sheriff, and fire chief were not only appropriate but inspiring. The music, professional yet heartfelt, led us all into the presence of the Lord. The pastor’s message was perfect for the evening.
It’s nice being part of a community where the various elected officials and appointed first responders feel at home in the Lord’s house. They knew they had the genuine respect and appreciation of the people. Lakeland, Florida, is the kind of place where meetings still begin with prayer. It remains culturally conservative overall, and promoting Christian morality is expected. The local pro-life center that helps lead women away from abortion and into embracing life is influential enough to fill the ballroom in the city’s event complex every time it holds its annual fundraiser.
There will never be unanimity in any community, but there can be consensus. A consensus exists here.
After 9/11, there were hopes that consensus could be achieved nationwide. Yet we are a divided country, roughly half Christian and/or culturally conservative, half secular/progressive allied—I think incongruously—with some who believe that’s the Christian way to go. The cultural divide reveals itself in our politics, where we are again almost evenly split.
Do I seek consensus? Yes, but the only real consensus—the only one of any value—has to be grounded in a Biblical worldview. Anything else will ultimately fail. As we face the challenges ahead—and there will be many, some quite severe—my prayer is that those challenges will drive us closer to a dependence on the One without whom life has no meaning. When we embrace Him, we finally come face to face with what life is all about, and we find the purpose for which we were created.
I believe 9/11 should have been a call to repentance and to humble ourselves before the God who seeks to forgive and redeem. For some, it was, and for that we can be grateful. God has a way of extracting the precious from the worthless. There are no guarantees there won’t be other 9/11-type events that will rock our world. How we face them, and whether we turn to Him who provides the strength and the wisdom to overcome, remains a question mark. I hope we will pass the test.