17 April, 2024

Remembering That Day

by | 4 September, 2023 | 0 comments

By Doug Redford 

Sept. 11 of this year marks 22 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Also remembered are those who perished in a crash in the countryside of Somerset County, Penn., after passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 heroically revolted against terrorists who had hijacked the plane intending to crash it into the Pentagon. 

 A tragic day such as 9/11 will always be remembered when the anniversary comes around. People often will ask: “Where were you when 9/11 happened or when you first learned about it?” And yet, because of the impact of sin upon our world, every single day will mark the anniversary of some tragic event for someone in the world. Obviously, not all of those remembrances will gain media attention, but the pain of whatever tragedy is being marked will likely resurface in the lives of those impacted.  

Each year in New York City, a memorial service is held on 9/11 during which the names of those who were killed as a result of the four crashes that happened that day (and of those who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) are read. Family members of the victims are invited to take part in the reading of the names. 

Communion is not an “anniversary” in the literal sense, since an anniversary is observed once a year, and we observe Communion each week when we gather in worship on the Lord’s Day. We do mark, however, an event that happened on one pivotal day—not a day when towers came down but a day during which a cross went up. We remember, not many lives taken, but one life given, as Jesus himself made clear (John 10:17-18). It would be impossible to read the names of those for whom Jesus gave his life; he offered his life “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). But each of us can take the emblems of Communion and insert our name in the blank: “Jesus died for ______. He gave his life for ______.” 

After the deaths of those who perished in the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, someone observed, “A common field was transformed into a field of honor.” At Communion, we remember that day on which a common symbol of shameful death, the cross, was transformed into a symbol of hope for all humanity. 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 


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