I was the pastor at First United Methodist Church in Farmersville Texas on 9/11/01. I had been there six weeks and was still getting to know the church and community. In the midst of the shock, chaos, fear, and planning a worship service for that evening, I tried to take time to jot down my feelings that day and the next. It’s still hard to imagine even as I remember.
Tuesday September 11, 2001
There is numbness that comes from witnessing dramatic events. This morning I awoke to the radio broadcasting a breaking story that a “small plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers.” ..I immediately turned on the TV to see the coverage, and while watching the horrible pictures of smoke billowing from one of the towers right before my eyes I saw a plane fly into the picture and crash into the other tower in a fiery explosion
“OH!” was all I could say. I could not believe my eyes. I still don’t believe it. The irony is it was a beautiful day outside.
Now, Washington is attacked, more injured and damage. The numbness has returned even as I write this. This seems to be a movie, but it is real, and it is horrible. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people killed and injured, lives lost and forever changed. Not since 1941 have we as a nation experienced such surprise and loss.
Wednesday September 12, 2001
Another day passed. We have watched, we have cried, we have wondered, and we have worshipped. We do not know exactly why this has happened or why God has allowed it other than it is yet another horrible consequence of living in a world that is fallen and separated from God. The answer is not satisfying, no answer brings satisfaction. While we do not know the why’s of God, we do know the where of God. We know that God is present with us, now, in our loss, sadness, anger, and grief. As God loves each of us more than one can comprehend, God therefore grieves more than anyone grieves or can even imagine. May God bless us, and may we feel God’s love and presence as we continue to lift up others in prayer. May God bless and comfort those waiting for word of loved ones. May God bless and strengthen those working and risking their own lives in the search for survivors. And, may God be with, and somehow change, those who organized the terror. May the cycle of violence and hate be broken. May our response as individuals and a nation be in accord with God’s Word, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.