How I Spent 9-11-2011

The weather itself, the beautiful bright sun and warm temperatures, indicated that it would be a spectacular day.  Much like the weather ten years earlier.

It turned out to be exactly that.  It was a spectacular day to have a Divine Service, receive Christ in His Body and Blood, enjoy each other’s friendship/fellowship at the annual church picnic, go home and watch football, and relax.

In short, it was a spectacular day to live normally.

It seems nothing was normal ten years earlier.  My phone rang about 8:30am.  It was my friend, Pastor Dave Groth, of Good Shepherd in Watertown.  He was installed as the new pastor there only two days earlier.  “Have you seen the news?”  “No.”  “A commercial jetliner crashed into the World Trade Center.”  I hung up the phone and turned on the radio.  (I was installed only three weeks earlier and we still hadn’t hooked up cable TV).  WPR in Madison was still playing classical music…for about one more minute as it turned out.

And nothing was normal for a quite a long time after that.  Some would argue it’s still not normal.

I recall Pres. Bush telling Americans that the best thing they could do in the wake of the attacks was live normally.  I believed it then.  I believe it now.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t commemorate those who died.  (We did so in the liturgy at St. John’s Sunday).  Still, no greater tribute could be paid, I believe, than to live as we always have.

For me, although Matt. 18:21-35 gave an extraordinary opportunity to talk about forgiving also as a nation, I chose not to apply the text to the anniversary.  Forgiving those who have sinned against us is our task every day as Christians.  I don’t mind that many pastors did apply it to the anniversary.  I am not saying, in any way, that this was somehow wrong.  This was more my conscientious decision not to connect Matt. 18 to a certain day by words, but to encourage Christians to live forgiveness every day.  As if it was normal, what was expected of Christ’s people every day.

Forgiven at God’s altar, it seemed marvelously fitting that all of us should have had such a good time together at the picnic.  We ate, drank, visited, raised money for a new discretionary fund.  It really was a wonderful day.

And I think it was the best remembrance of all, in my opinion.  God gives us this life not to be lived in fear, but faith.  We Christians can rejoice in the normal…every day.

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

God bless America and keep her safe.

Sincerely in Christ,

Pastor Torkelson

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