As American patriots, we are about to endure the 20th Anniversary of the scariest assault on US soil in my lifetime; 9/11. It is neither my purpose nor my desire to rerun the horrors of that day perpetrated by the most cowardice of evil humanity. It is not my goal to attempt to suggest any credible blame on either radical Muslim extremist terrorist or upon an evil plot by the CIA to undermine the power, influence and financial structure of the United States of America. The exact truth of that fatal day may never be known by mere humanity.
However, I prefer to share from an old preacher’s spiritual take on the before 9/11 and immediately after 9/11.
For years prior to 9/11, church statistics were waning; attendance on Sunday morning Worship was little more than good in most churches and baptisms were at a frightening low across most denominations. As a Pastor in the first years of the 1990’s, I had begun in earnest to pray for revival amongst God’s churches; one that would quickly move to a vast Spiritual Awakening across America. I often would plead with God to shake America in such a way that we would suddenly see just how far we had moved away from God; even those within the walls of His Houses of Worship; then came the morning of September 11, 2001.
It was a rare thing for our TV to be on that early on a California morning, but for some reason it was on as I walked into the living room. I glanced toward the screen because of the sound of panicked voices. In a brief moment I realized it was shortly after the first plan had hit the first tower. From that beginning, until very late that night, I followed the horrors of that day of death and destruction. I thought the buildings would never stop falling. I somehow knew as I watched in horror that America would never recover from the falling. As it turns out, America is yet crumbling a little more each day, and most people alive today can’t or won’t see it and simply walks on through the rubble of falling freedoms.
After a day of shock and disbelief, by mid day on September 12, American flags were to be seen flying on every building and the vast majority of personal vehicles. People of all nationalities and ages were seen to be singing “God Bless America” and praying together on the streets of our cities, even Congress was seen singing and praying together in the steps of our Nation’s Capitol. I began to feel a sense of hope for a revival embracing us all.
Yes, there was fear, there was grief and confusion, but spiritual hopes were running through the veins of this Pastor’s heart. It seemed as though Americans were embracing and encouraging one another while reaching out to God for hope and rescue.
Some estimated that on the Sunday following those attacks of terror against our nation, approximately half of the adult populace attended church services. Surely the revival has begun, I remember thinking. But, by November attendance started dropping off back to pre 9/11 numbers. It seems that when the immediate threat or fears of further attacks had somewhat subsided, those who rushed into God’s House before suddenly did not feel His need any longer. Very soon, with a few security changes in travel, we were back to business as usual.
George Barna, of Barna Research, expecting to see a lasting spiritual impact following the attacks, was very surprised to find that people had gone back to the way they were spiritually before 9/11.
If one does not act in response to that level of spiritual emergency right away by evaluating priorities and behavior, spiritual change will not be a permanent change.
It seems that when we are pierced with extreme fear, while things are falling apart at the core of what we are, we suddenly turn to God, whoever He may be, and as the fear subsides and pieces of our lives come back together, we slowly lose sight of the God we thought we needed.
When we are in great fear, we to turn to God to get right with Him, and even find ourselves in church. When things appear to calm down close to “normal”, we tend to forget what we felt was important under stress and soon drift away.
For 18 years after 9/11, the church basically returned to their comfort zones, but then at the beginning of 2020, Covid raced throughout the world affecting every nation, and very soon every church. Pandemic, politics, and injected fears and distrust has not only divided most Americans, but these same things threaten the very structure of church.
This is a time for the American church to show who we truly are. We must pray. We must act. We must give. We must be Heroes of the faith—for Christ’s sake. We must make a Difference—because we can through Christ. What will we do? What will you do? Beloved, let’s purposely get to work, linking hands across the aisles, be the Church of our LORD Jesus Christ at long last. Pray On! Fight On, in the full armor of God!