He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On the 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemorative Service at Church (Part 1)

Dated 19 Sept. 2011

The cover of the service program for that morning of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Sept 11, 2011. (Shocks, I just realized, that's double eleventh hour!) I didn't notice the American flag at the bottom until I took this photo this morning.

I have not attended Sunday morning service for quite a while. If I bring my younger daughter, who's a special needs child, along she can't stop talking repeatedly, nor can she stop pulling my hair, so, people around us end up distracted by us. If I leave her at home, almost always, nobody is awake yet to child-mind her. But that was a special Sunday and I was blessed that my younger son was already awake, so, I left her with him. He knows that nowadays, in order for us to go to church, we have to take turns going to church / caring for her.
There was a general feeling of disappointment among New Yorkers for Mayor Bloomberg leaving out the religious leaders from the official commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero. The pastor mentioned it in his sermon and for him this was a sign that America is falling into that false sense of security, just because there had been no similar attacks in the last 10 years. (Later on, I found out that Pres. Barak and First Lady Michelle Obama and ex-Pres. George and ex-First Lady Laura Bush came to Ground Zero for the early morning observance and Pres. Obama read Psalm 46. I believe that the reason they left out the clergy this time was to prevent any controversy arising from the different religious groups. Hence, I am glad that still, the text the President chose to read for the occasion is from the Bible.)
The pastor, a soft-spoken medium-sized guy, preached a simple and succinct message on that mournful Sunday. Titled, "America, Beware!", his message warns Americans that what happened on 9/11 ten years ago was not an accident; it was a deliberate act of war. Muslim extremists attacked America because of their hatred for Americans and their way of life, as well as their close ties with Israel. America remains to be a defender of Israel because we believe God's word saying, "I will bless those who bless you." That is, God will bless those who bless the nation of Israel to whom He was speaking when He said that. When I heard that, I became genuinely glad that we have chosen to make the move from the church in front of our house, to this church, which is also in our neighborhood, but a bit further. I guess, the pastor's candid and humorous statement best describes the "statement of faith" of this church: "The Bible is never PC – politically correct – instead, it is always BC – biblically correct." He elaborated on his commemorative message by preaching on Ephesians 6:11-13.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
He reminded us that we are in a spiritual war, a religious war. He went on to remind everyone of the heroic act of the passengers of Flight 93, which landed in the rural fields of Pennsylvania, averting a potential attack on the Capitol. Ten years ago, on 9/11, New Yorkers came face to face with evil. They experienced the horror and devastation of loved ones suddenly going missing, the city paralyzed by terror and panic, transportation coming to a total stand-still, the whole metropolitan going on "emergency" mode. Suddenly, heroism and patriotism came to an all-time high, there was a unity making people come together in prayer due to the acute awareness of the existence of God and His importance in their lives, a coming together to give support and comfort to one another, forgetting whatever earthly differences they may have had. But despite all that, soon after, people started forgetting the lessons learned and put political power of utmost importance again. By not welcoming the clergy to the 10th Remembrance of 9/11 he said, we are dismissing our main source of security – God. (Psalm 121:1) He emphasized that an attack similar to 9/11 can happen again and that we have to remain strong and vigilant. He called upon us to come to repentance and mourning, that we should humble ourselves and seek the Lord for help. He quoted Joel 2:11-15, Psalm 51:17 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
After the preaching and prayer, members of the church came up to the front and read aloud from Isaiah 40, Psalm 62, Psalm 24 and Psalm 91. There was also a corporate reading of Psalm 23. A widow of one of the members of the church who died on 9/11 read an essay titled, " If I Knew It Was the Last Time…" Another member read another essay titled, "On Monday,... On Tuesday...". 9/11 happened on a Tuesday and the essay was enumerating details on how New Yorkers' lives and attitudes changed in just one day between those momentous Monday and Tuesday. A slide show titled "9.11.07 Never Forget, Never Surrender" was also shown with the instrumental version of "Be Still My Soul" as soft background music. The service was so solemn and meaningful. There were no dry eyes at the end of it. It was also the first Sunday service I attended in that church and it was a most memorable one. (The first services we attended there were on Wednesday nights.)

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D