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Remembering the tragedy of 9/11

Memories of incomprehensible tragedies in our world and their associated graphic details are etched in our minds. Such was the case last past week on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our neighbours to the south. We remember where we were at that moment. Not unlike another moment that many of the LPCC family will recall when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, almost sixty years ago this coming November. Those images remain clear in our minds and we also remember where we were and what we were doing on that day.

In June 2001, Marilyn and I had moved back to Ontario to take an appointment and call respectively to team ministry at St. Andrew’s United Church on Hamilton Mountain. September 11th was our first staff meeting of the new church year. The meeting was interrupted by a phone call telling us what was happening live on TV. We adjourned and returned home in time to see the moment when the second plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Centre. Soon thereafter I received calls from congregants who felt a need to come together to share in processing this horrific event. What resulted was a service where we turned our thoughts and prayers to the yet unknown number of lives lost and their grieving families. I recall that service because it became clear to me and reinforced the value and necessity of community in our lives. Several church members spoke spontaneously on that occasion of how they appreciated the church community and how helpful it was to share the enormity of the tragedy and the extent of compassion we felt for our neighbours. We were gifts to each other. I believe that there is a strong correlation between a tragedy and the peoples’ need to come and be together.

As I write this brief update, I am mindful of the natural disasters this week in Morocco and Libya with thousand of lost lives. This has been a year of unprecedented fires, floods, and earthquakes. They will never have the same profile as 9/11 or Dallas 1963 and they will fade in our memories.  That said, these tragedies too require an outpouring of our compassion and concern for lives lost and grieving families.

There is much wisdom in the Gospel imperative to rejoice with those who rejoice and, more importantly, weep with those who weep (Romans 12: 15). To do this as a community simply enhances our ability to deal with the changing circumstances of our lives and the unexpected happenings in our complex world.

To end on a more positive note, do you remember where you were, and what you were doing, when Paul Henderson scored that winning goal in the final seconds of the last game in the 1972 Canada - Russia series?  Canada came together to rejoice!

Rev. Dr. Eric Bascon