About 18 years ago, a small church in Lacey reached out to me and got my attention.
They purchased plane tickets for me to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time in my life. I was torn because my wife was struggling with health problems and I loved the community and the large church with which I had been serving.
However, I sensed God was calling me elsewhere.
That fateful Tuesday started out just like normal. I arrived at my office in order to have coffee ready by 6:30 a.m. The routine was the same as always. I’d have coffee with a friend or two, then work on administrative matters and study. I had news radio on in the background. The news usually was simply background noise, but just before 8 a.m., talks of a small airplane possibly crashing into a building in New York grabbed my attention. Indiana didn’t participate in daylight savings time then, so we were an hour behind New York. I turned up the radio as guests stopped by to ask if I had heard what was happening.
As events unfolded, more people kept coming.
A friend gained permission from the cable company to run temporary lines to our worship space so we could broadcast the unfolding news for the gathering crowd. It was clear the community saw the church as a place to gather to pray for our country. Many people gathered for prayer that day in utter shock at what had happened to our country.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed us. If you were alive and were old enough to comprehend what was happening, you remember where you were and what you were doing, just like I do. It certainly served as a marker in the memory banks of our minds.
Getting on a plane shortly after planes were allowed to fly again was quite a strange experience for me. I was suspicious of others — especially people traveling alone. Early on, I realized others were also suspicious of me. It’s just the way it was.
America suddenly regained patriotism like never before in the days following those horrible terrorist attacks. American flags peppered neighborhoods all around our country like I had never seen before. No one would even think of not supporting our military personnel or any emergency responders, including police. No one was openly expressing hatred toward our president.
Most dropped all partisanship, and we all came together.
People who had openly opposed most things Christian were suspiciously quiet as the vast majority turned to God for help. Prayer became a very common thing. Politicians, celebrities and even well-known news personnel referenced prayer and God quite often. This tragedy brought us to our knees and brought us together.
Here it is 18 years later, and we’ve gone back to our partisan ways, back to less prayers, back to less support of our military and police, back to fewer American flags. The events of Sept.11, 2001, changed us, but as time has passed, it appears we have forgotten some things. Fewer and fewer people pray now. Fewer and fewer trust the Lord.
As we remember that fateful day, recall how we pulled together. Remember how much we turned to God. Remember how important prayer became to nearly all of us. Remember how readily we prioritized the things we should and put aside things we needed to. Let’s not wait for another tragedy to wake us up and get us to reach back out to God.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” – King Solomon, Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)
Jeff Adams is pastor for Paramount Christian Church. His column appears weekly in the Nisqually Valley News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.