The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, September 11, 2023, was written by Christina Ray Stanton of New York.
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor. 3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” 10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:1-11 NRSV
On September 11, 2001, my husband, Brian, shook me awake when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. After we watched the second plane crash into the South Tower, just six blocks away, we ran down 24 stories, me barefoot and in my pajamas. Soon both towers fell, and we were covered in dust and debris and struggling to breathe through the smoke. Unsure if we'd survive, we searched desperately for a way to safety. Feeling utterly alone, I asked God to spare us. But I did not expect an answer. I had abandoned my faith years ago, so why would God answer me now?
When my husband and I got off the boat in new Jersey, we knew we could not go home, but we had no idea where to go or what to do next. Weeks of uncertainty stretched into months. We re-evaluated everything, including our relationship with God. We joined a faith community and became active in the church. Our faith deepened, and we committed our lives to Christ.
On this anniversary of 9/11, I remember how God met us at our lowest point, sheltered us, and rebuilt us. In this broken world, injustice and suffering will be a constant presence. But today's quoted scripture gives me hope: Jesus has overcome the world. God will never forsake or abandon me.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Those of us who were alive on September 11, 2001, will never forget where we were nor the anguish at the loss of so many lives. In the weeks and months after the tragedy, churches, Synagogues, and Mosques were filled with people with questions and uncertainty. For many, like Christina, it was the beginning of the process to revive a relationship with God. Tragedy will either help us draw closer to God or it will push us away from God. I invite you to pray for those who have been pushed away from God by the tragedies of their lives, that they may come to experience healing and wholeness.
Dear God, thank you for your constant and unfailing love. Amen.