MESSAGE DELIVERED: SEPTEMBER 11, 2016
“The Lord of Hosts is with us, The God of Jacob is our refuge.” That’s what the Psalmist said, all those thousands of years ago; words spoken to a people who had been blessed and delivered by the Lord of Hosts; but who had since, walked away from His side, and followed paths of their own making. In this psalm, Korah, the author, was calling them BACK to God.
And now look at us: 15 years ago we experienced shock, outrage, horror and disbelief! HOW could this happen to us? WE are the GOOD guys!
A faceless enemy had attacked us, struck at the heart of our system of capitalism…struck at the heart of our military might! And we were OUTRAGED! But mostly we were in shock…and we were scared. If an enemy could that easily gain access to loaded jumbo jets, and use them to kill so many innocent people, then we weren’t safe ANYwhere.
So, 15 years ago we held our children, our loved ones, a little closer. Most of us found it difficult to sleep. We were consumed with thoughts of “what will happen next?”
And 15 years ago, we gathered here, in this sanctuary, to express our outrage at the cowardly attacks that had been perpetrated on all those innocent men and women. NOT soldiers; but bankers, secretaries, clerks! Just ordinary men and women, like you and me, who had simply been going about their daily lives…working to make a living…never giving a thought to how SUDDENLY their lives were about to change…how OUR lives were about to change.
WE didn’t die that day! Well, maybe we ALL died a LITTLE, as we all came together here to share our GRIEF and HORROR that resulted FROM those cowardly attacks…horror beyond comprehension…utter terror, that led people to leap from windows out into a thousand feet of empty air rather than face the conflagration behind them. In many cases, those who were killed by the original impact and explosion, VAPORIZED by that explosion; they were the lucky ones.
“The Lord of Hosts is with us and the God of Jacob is our refuge.” But, is He? All those 15 years ago, as we gathered here, I told you then that I thought God might be giving us a wake-up call. But that was THEN, and this is NOW! 15 long years have passed since that cowardly attack. Are you still outraged today? Still horrified as you were then? Or, knowing that this day was coming, did you spend yesterday as ‘business as usual’?
I’m not trying to say that is a bad thing. In fact, 15 years ago we were urged by our leaders to now ALLOW those attacks to keep us from living and enjoying our lives. But, DID the events of 9/11/01 really change us? After the smoke cleared, after all the debris was FINALLY cleared away…were we any different than we were then? Or did we simply go BACK to ‘business as usual’?
15 years later, have we forgotten the promises that were made then?…at the height of that catastrophe? Our president then went on national TV and told us those attacks were nothing less than an act of WAR, and promised us JUSTICE! In case you’ve forgotten, I’ll remind you of what he said…quote…”either we will bring our enemies to justice, or we will bring justice to our enemies”. That’s a direct quote from a speech made by then president George W. Bush on national TV on September 12, 2001.
And almost at once it was determined that the attack had been carried out by a group we had never heard of, but would soon become very familiar with; called ‘Al Qaeda’, under the leadership of a wealthy Islamic fundamentalist named Osama bin Laden, and U.S. Intelligence sources soon discovered that he was hiding in Afghanistan.
So a relatively small contingent of American soldiers was sent into Afghanistan, presumably to hunt him down, while a massive aerial bombardment called “Operation Shock And Awe” was launched against Saddam Hussein, in the nation of Iraq! There was NEVER any indication that Hussein had been involved in the 9/11 attacks…and there was NO indication of any presence of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
But, we were told that he had ‘weapons of mass destruction’, and that he MIGHT use them against us, so we HAD to go there. Meanwhile, bin Laden was still hiding in Afghanistan.
But sufficient military might was thrown against Iraq to completely destroy that nation’s infrastructure, at a dollar cost in the BILLIONS, and a much GREATER cost, on a HUMAN scale, of THOUSANDS of bright, young American service men and women, killed of maimed there.
Ultimately, Hussein was captured, tried and killed, but bin Laden was still safe and well, and directing terrorist operations from hiding.
With the installation of a new president, the focus finally shifted to Afghanistan, and many more thousands of American troops were sent there, and at a cost of even more billions of dollars, and the thousands more young lives lost or destroyed, and after destroying most of THAT nation’s infrastructure, fighting on a battle field and an enemy that has NEVER been defeated, by ANY army, from Alexander the Great, Napoleon, even the mighty Soviet Union!
Bin Laden was discovered to have been living all that time, hiding in plain sight, in PAKISTAN! And he was killed by a precision military strike, so our purpose in being there has no more validity…but it was recently announced that there will be another troop BUILD-UP in Afghanistan!
But, after ALL that outlay of lives, money and equipment, WHAT have we ultimately accomplished? We can no longer carry a bottle of MOUTHWASH in your carry-on luggage at the airport…six-year-old children, and NINETY six year old GRANDmothers, have been subjected to overly-invasive BODY searches…and if you order a pizza at an airport restaurant, you better be prepared to eat it WHOLE, because even those RESTAURANTS aren’t allowed to have KNIVES. But, are we any SAFER?
“The Lord of Hosts is with us, and the God of Jacob is our refuge”. If God gave America a wake-up call on 9/11/01, did we pay any attention? Or, did we just hit the ‘snooze’ button, and go back to sleep?
Today, 15 years from that horrible day, I think we need to take on a DUAL purpose…I think we in America have to become UNITED as a people, and I think we MUST re-affirm ourselves, as children of God!
September 11th, 2001, was a day of mourning and sorrow. TODAY, September 11th, 2016, needs to be a day of REMEMBERANCE, and a day of CELEBRATION! It’s a day to celebrate the INDOMITABLE SPIRIT of bravery and heroism that has been displayed by ORDINARY men and women…those who rushed head-long into collapsing buildings to try to save lives, or by wrestling control of a hijacked jet liner that had been turned into a flying bomb by armed terrorists, and by the thousands of brave young men and women who have lost their lives, or been maimed, on the fields of battle.
But, mourning alone won’t fully honor the dead, whether innocent or hero. For THAT there must be justice. Saddam Hussein is dead, whether he had any role in the 9/11 attacks or not. Yasser Arafat, who actively supported the Al Qaeda terrorists, is dead. Osama bin Laden is dead. Muammar Gaddafi, who was long-known to have masterminded the cowardly bombing of the loaded jet liner flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, has been killed.
And those people in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, have been fighting each other for thousands of years. Because of this, I can’t see any further need for our military to be involved, on the ground, anywhere there.
Bring our troops home; use the billions of dollars being spent to destroy the infrastructures of OTHER countries, for REPAIRING our OWN crumbling infrastructure…all those crumbling, unsafe bridges, and miles of crumbling highways.
We MUST continue to retaliate against the enemies of democracy and freedom, wherever they are. But I don’t see that as a need for all-out military action any more. It can more easily be accomplished through diplomacy and clandestine intelligence activity, or where necessary, by our superior air-assault abilities. I see no further need for, as they now say, “boots on the ground”. Bring them home, and let them defend our OWN porous borders.
But, as I said, today we must have a dual purpose as a nation: and the other side of that is…we MUST!…as a nation, and as individuals, turn back to God! Today, as we observe this 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks…and as our hearts and thoughts turn back to the horror and heroism of that day…it becomes of the utmost importance that we return to the God who first established us AS a nation, and who has so-long preserved us AS a nation…for over 200 years.
Today, it is time for us to tell those who try to deny the TRUTH that I just gave you…the TRUTH that it was GOD who established America…on CHRISTIAN principles…and those that try to DENY that need to SIT DOWN and SHUT UP! America is GOD’S country, and for those that don’t LIKE that, there are BOATS and PLANES LEAVING here EVERY day. NO one says you have to STAY. Go try a nation where God ISN’T, and see how much they like THAT!
We need to ask ourselves this very important question today: can we ASK, or EXPECT, God to BLESS America, if America REFUSES to bless, or even ACKNOWLEDGE, God?
We Christians have stood quietly by, and allowed God to be removed from the halls of Government…from the CLASSROOM and the MARKETPLACE…now do you really think putting a BUMPER STICKER on your CAR, is ENOUGH to lure Him back?
Our Biblical foundation teaches us that God will bless a nation, ONLY when that nation…the PEOPLE OF that nation, turn back to HIM, first!,…in repentance and Faith! We have presumed TOO LONG on God’s patience. Empty slogans and trite phrases will NOT convince him to continue blessing this land, as he did for those 200 years, before we allowed Him to be kicked out. God’s blessings are NOT automatic, just because we call ourselves Americans, or because we claim the name of His Son.
200 years ago, America was united. Even 100 years ago, America was united. But NOW, we have not only tried to separate ourselves from the God who established us, but NOW we have become a HYPHENATED nation! 100 years ago, we were all Americans. But today we are hyphenated Americans…we are Mexican-Americans…Asian-Americans…African-Americans. And we are the ONLY nation that DOES that! I even heard a guy ask “How come nobody calls themselves African-Canadians?” Only WE do that! And it needs to STOP! We need to remind ourselves that our name is the UNITED States of America, and we need to become united, under God! That is NOT just a trite phrase to put on our currency…that is our DEFINITION, as a people. And as I’ve already stated, for those that don’t like that, there is no reason they have to STAY here. Let them go try a few years in IRAQ, and see how they like THAT, if they don’t like AMERICA UNDER GOD! Maybe that will be more to their liking.
“The Lord of Hosts, and The God of Jacob is our refuge”. The power to restore God’s blessings and protection on this land, rests with US, gathered here today. The POWER to assure that the INVOLUNTARY sacrifice of 3000 innocent men and women, 15 years ago…many of whom have NEVER been found, no trace of them left…and the thousands of military lives lost or ruined SINCE that day, rests with US! Those of you who are listening to this. And if you say “that’s RIDICULOUS!…what can we do?…there are so FEW of us!”…well, have you forgotten that Jesus used only ELEVEN men, to change the ENTIRE WORLD? Surely a HUNDRED of US can change a COUNTRY! And that power doesn’t come from BUMPER STICKERS…or BOMBS and BULLETS! It will COME from GOD’S people, falling to their KNEES in REPENTANCE!
And like it or not, HERE is where we have to start…IF we are to call ourselves CHRISTIANS…IF we are to call ourselves FOLLOWERS of the Son of God…then we need to start DOING, what HE told us TO do!
Probably you don’t want me to remind you, NOW, while we are still in a state of REMEMBERING all the HORROR and CARNAGE that resulted from 9/11…that Jesus TOLD us that we have to LOVE our enemies!…that when someone strikes us, we are to TURN the OTHER CHEEK!
You may not like it…but that is what we HAVE to do. ENOUGH blood has been spilled. ENOUGH damage has been done. Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria will be DECADES rebuilding and repairing the damage that has been done there…the PHYSICAL damage; the EMOTIONAL scars will probably last FOREVER.
We HAVE to come to a place where we say “ENOUGH!” Surely justice has been done. The perpetrators have been punished.
What we are doing now, by our continued presence in those countries, is making us GUILTY, of what the inhabitants OF those countries are CALLING us…”INVADERS”…”OCCUPIERS”…the more DAMAGE we DO over there, the more the INHABITANTS will rise up AGAINST us.
Justice had been done. Bin Laden is dead. It’s time for us to pick up our things and leave, and let those nations sort things out for themselves, as they HAVE been doing, for thousands of years. Let them try to rebuild.
15 years is long enough. It’s time to let outrage and anger cool down. It’s time to remember WHO and WHAT we ARE! We are the children of GOD. We are the people of the BOOK. We are CHRISTIANS. And as Christians we are commanded to LOVE our enemies. That was NOT a ‘SUGGESTION’, it was a COMMAND!
There is NOTHING we can do, to bring BACK the 3000 that died that day, 15 years ago. NOTHING will BRING BACK, or MAKE WHOLE, the THOUSANDS of service who DIED or where MAIMED, on the field of battle! But what’s DONE is DONE! It’s time to STOP!
“The Lord of Hosts is with us, The God of Jacob is our refuge”. We need to ESTABLISH the TRUTH of that statement, in America. We need to reach out to our enemies with an OPEN HAND instead of a CLOSED FIST! YOU may not like that! The ENEMY may not ACCEPT it! Probably WON’T! But that is NOT our concern. IF we love the LORD, then we MUST love our ENEMIES, too.
We need to be using our superior military might in securing our OWN coasts and borders. People right now, walk in here like it was WALMART! We need to QUIT trying to be the WORLD’S POLICEMAN.
If American farmers need Mexican laborers to pick their crops, then make a way for them to come safely and legally, and then LEAVE, when the work is finished, not stay and sign up for WELFARE!
We need to STOP borrowing money from CHINA, and then turning around and GIVING that same money to people who hate us. There is an election coming up, and the choices are TOUGH, but we need to elect people who will work for what is best for the country, and not what is best for the PARTY! And God help me, I don’t know WHO that IS! But above all we need to do whatever is necessary, for America to BE, what we once WERE, “one nation under God!”
And that doesn’t mean that I think “I”, or anyone ELSE, have all the ANSWERS…it means we have to trust the ONLY source of answers…we need to turn back to God. That sounds SO SIMPLE…WHY don’t we DO it? Right HERE, right NOW…why don’t we turn back to God?