Well, today’s the day…. ten years since the greatest terrorist attacks on American soil. Of course, there was also Pearl Harbor…. and I don’t mean to diminish that horrific event at all; however, it happened before Hawaii became a state. And that seems to be a sticking point for purists who tend to track these sorts of things. I have heard it said more than once this weekend that 9/11/01 is this generation’s Pearl Harbor. It’s one of those events that will cause you remember where you where when you heard the news of the planes hitting the World Trade Center. In my life, I can only think of several other events that have caused me to remember exactly what I was doing at the moment I heard the news.
When John Kennedy was assassinated, I was getting ready to start my afternoon of classes at Sutherland grammar school; and when the Challenger disaster occurred, I happened to be at a car dealership looking for a new vehicle. I also remember the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but I can’t tell you exactly what I was doing when I received the news of their deaths. I did, however, visit the memorial site in Indianapolis last week where Bobby Kennedy broke the news of Dr. King’s death to the people assembled in a park back in April, 1968. I had not seen the memorial before, but I am glad that I stopped by. These things are tending to become more important in my life as the years go by.
As you may also know, the NFL season started this afternoon, and the Colts are without their star quarterback, Peyton Manning. But what struck me about the start of the season was the pre-game activity. After the playing of Taps, a flag, the size of the field, was unfurled and then the National Anthem was played. Players from both teams spontaneously moved to the perimeter of the flag to assist in holding it up during the anthem. It was quite a sight. And after the conclusion of the pre-game activities, the network broke to a commercial. My understanding is that this was a coordinated event, across the country, as players from all teams observed a similar ceremony at the start of the season today.
I just caught a glimpse of the commercial in the background; it happened to be for Anheuser-Busch – you know, the Budweiser people. I have not seen the commercial before, and so I immediately went on YouTube to try and find it. Sure enough, it only aired once, in remembrance of 9/11, ten years ago. I encourage you to go and look for it if you haven’t seen it – but basically, it is a story of the famous Clydesdales traveling to New York after the tragedy. The story chronicles their trip across the country, culminating in their arrival crossing a bridge into New York City. And there, in the background, is the Statue of Liberty. The horses look around in silence, and then, following the lead horses, they all bow in tribute to those lost during the terrorist attacks. It’s a real reminder of what happened that day – the loss and the way we honored our dead and our wounded.
I started thinking about the word “honor”. It means, in the Hebrew, “to give due respect to”. And I think that it can be said that we, as a nation, have tried to honor our fallen fellow citizens during the last ten years. Memorials, tributes, remembrances, services, scholarships and many other forms of honor have been bestowed on the deceased, and their families. And usually, along with honor, comes glory. This is the stuff that heroes are made of. Again from the Hebrew, glory means, “the best part revealed”. So as we honor those lost, we are also reminded of the first responders, all the other heroes of the day, and how these folks died in their glory – doing the best that people can do. Barriers were dropped, and people who would not normally care for one another all came together for a common cause.
If we can act this way about each other, what would it be like if we could devote this same amount of energy and care to honoring and glorifying God? Since people are this important, and are made in the image of God, and are loved by God, why do so many people find it difficult to worship the Creator with the same zeal that they remember one another? Because God deserves our honor (due respect) and glory (the best part revealed) more than anything else. What would it be like for all of us to worship in unison the same way all the NFL teams did today? I think it would be quite remarkable!
The verse for today is from Rev. 5:13, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
Some day, in heaven, we will all worship God, and His Son, Jesus Christ. In the meantime, we are off to a great start honoring one another. But it’s not enough. We can do better. So my encouragement today is to honor and glorify God, the source of all our blessings. And my prayer is that you will honor and glorify our fallen citizens as you remember them today, and always. After all, being created in the image of God, we are all due honor and glory from one another. Have a great day, and I hope that the best part of you is revealed…..