From the Pastor
Though the Earth Give Way
(Psalm 46 )
This month marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I was too young to remember where I was and what I was doing the day that JFK was assassinated. But I’ll never forget the day the twin towers came down. Our family was in St. Louis at the time. The kids were at school. Juli was at work. I was doing classwork at home, in preparation for my dissertation. But all eyes were glued to the television in disbelief as scenes reminiscent of an apocalyptic end-of-the-world movie played out in real time. For many, there are still tragic memories associated with that day. Most everyone of us who have either lived or worked in the D. C. area since 2001 knows someone who was impacted by events at the Pentagon. And every anniversary year a friend of ours in Tokyo remembers the morning he was late to work at the World Trade Center and escaped the collapse of the twin towers. This serendipitous escape did not comfort him. The death of every one of his co-workers left him with an anguished case of “survivor’s guilt” that he cannot help but relive every 9/11 since.
Maybe you have your own life events impacted by 9/11…either directly or indirectly. Very likely other experiences have taught you something about the feeling of having the “earth give way.” You don’t have to live through the collapse of what seemed like permanent glass and steel to wonder whether the ground beneath your feet is truly there. Loss—especially sudden loss—takes us by surprise and leaves us reeling.
The Psalmist writes, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress….He says ‘be still and know that I am God.’”
One of the privileges of working together with all of you on behalf of God’s mission, is that it enables us to hear God’s voice, be still, and still serve in ways that help rebuild the earth beneath the feet of those experiencing sudden and unexpected loss. This fall we will be featuring a number of opportunities to serve (COVID allowing) that will benefit folks on the receiving end of organizations like Food for the Poor, Habitat for Humanity, Safe Families for Children, and Sleep in Heavenly Peace—just to name a few. An entire newsletter article could be written about any one of these organizations and the good work they are doing to help those in need both in our community and internationally! Be on the lookout for more information in our church’s publicity in the weeks ahead that highlights ways you can be involved to help others—whether those devastated by loss of life and property after the earthquake in Haiti or those experiencing homelessness right here in our own community.
Finally, I’d like to offer a word of thanks to everyone who took the time to share feedback—either through our congregational survey, at the August Town Hall, or via personal conversations with me—regarding the Church Council’s presentation of the permanent camera and monitor installation in the main sanctuary and Family Life Center. I’m also grateful for those who are already making financial donations on behalf of this project! I pray that God would continue to guide us as we finalize the plan this month and publicize the path forward for all of you.
Whatever your circumstances this month, I pray that you might hear the voice of the One who will always be your safe place, because of Jesus. That’s the One who will be exalted among the nations. That’s the One who will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us! The God of Jacob is our fortress!
Pastor Jonathan Blanke