Re-Membering

Harmon Smith, who was one of my professors at Duke, is the one who taught me to hyphenate prefixes to gain better understanding of a word. In the case of re-membering, as in re-membering Christ, or re-membering September 11, 2001, we make them a member of our selves again. A part of us, again and again. Re-membering keeps Christ with us, a part of us, inside and throughout so we do not forget.

September 11, 2001 is being re-membered in many ways today. We think about where we were and who we were with. I was with the ministry team of Saint Francis United Methodist Church on the way to a training event at Lake Junaluska for the week. We had stopped at Lou’s house in Winston Salem. She was a former choir member who had recently moved. She hosted us for breakfast that day. We walked into her house around 9:20. Her television was on. The first tower had been hit. We sat in disbelief. Then the second tower was hit. The impact rippled out into her living room. Without words, we felt the need to hunker down and gather in our people. We got back in the car and headed back to the church.

We stuck a sign in the front yard of the church…..Worship Tonight – 7:00. It was the church being present with the pain of the world…. already re-membering. It was the offering of Christ amid the confusion and the brokenness. And the people came for weeks in high numbers laying their fear and hurt at the feet of Jesus.

In the ten years since that day, until this week, how have we re-membered? How have we continued to bear the pain of the world in our own lives? How has the church opened it’s doors to that pain?

Today, mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings of the fallen – those who made phone calls to their loved ones from the 100th floor, those on on flight 93 who said they didn’t want to die, those who simply went to work that day not knowing it would be their last – are part of us again. As are those who flew the planes and masterminded the hate. They are all part of us as we re-member.

But today, at the table of the Lord, we will also re-member the One who died that we would know life eternal in a place where pain is no more. We re-member and give thanks. Let us never forget that harshness and blessing travel together in this world. Give thanks for strength to re-member and carry on to the glory of God. Amen.

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One Response to Re-Membering

  1. Randall Spence says:

    I was in Beirut, Lebanon on this fateful day a decade ago. I was there as a part of team from my church working on a Christian college under construction. The dean of the college received a phone call from his wife regarding the Twin Towers. Returning to the convent where we were staying, we found a TV and sat there horrified as we watched the recording of what had just taken place in New York. Our little group sat there in a Catholic convent huddled together thousands of miles away from home. Tears were shed, comforting embraces exchanged, and prayers prayed. The college dean, sensitive to our need to talk to our families, took us to downtown Beirut and made arrangements at a telephone company for us to call our loved ones back home. We just needed that connection with them and they with us.

    In the days following, I will say that the Lebanese people were amazing. We had soldiers, policemen, and ordinary citizens stop us in the streets and in businesses to express their sorrow. We were in an upscale restaurant one night when the head waiter came to our table and expressed the sorrow of the Lebanese people for the unfortunate happenings in our country. He also announced that as an expression of their sorrow our meals would be on the house. Who was Muslim and who was Christian? We couldn’t tell but we found the Christ in the graciousness of the Lebanese people.

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