The church I have the privileged of serving (www.ssbc.org) has been in the process of remodeling our sanctuary which was originally dedicated in 1950. It has stood in the heart of San Marco, a historic district of Jacksonville, Florida, for over 60 years. Throughout the years many passers by have found relief from the hot Florida sun in the shadow or her steeple and paused in the middle of a busy day at the sounds of the chimes and hymns that call out as a reminder that there is something more to life than the grind of 9 to 5. When the renovation plans were in process and completion dates were being discussed, we soon realized dedication Sunday would fall on September 11, 2011. Not just the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history, but the 10th anniversary of those attacks. We debated changing our dedication date, but ultimately decided it was the perfect symbol of our church’s message to the world. Out of the brokenness and destruction, beauty will rise through the love and power of Jesus Christ.
The date of September 11 will forever be scarred by the events of 2001. On this, the 10th anniversary, we reflect on the ways our world has changed and the terrible reminder of its often broken condition. “Out of ashes,” the psalmist reminds us, “beauty will rise.” As Christians we know that without the terrible events of Good Friday there would have been no Resurrection Sunday. As Christians we believe the brokenness of our world does not define us. Instead we stand as lights in the darkness pointing to the hope of a new day dawning. While we never forget the terrible lessons of our past we refuse to allow them to steal our hope for tomorrow.