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VIDEO: FAITH: When life was changed forever

Rev. Brad McKenzie

This summer while attending a Kiwanis International conference in Salt Lake City, I had the opportunity to meet and make friends with several Kiwanis members from the NYC metro area.  We all discussed many items about the city, culture, but then came the topic of September 11, 2001.  For the first time in my life, I sat next to people who worked just blocks from where the Twin Towers were attacked and lived in places where life was changed forever.  Listening to firsthand accounts made the events of 9-11 more real and even more personal.

For those not living in areas of the terrorist attacks, we can all remember how life stopped and was drastically altered.  Whatever had been on our minds before the attacks became dust in the wind as we watched the dust of the towers fall over the city over and over.  Phrases like “Never Forget” and “God Bless America” became unifying language for a nation seeking to find out the truth while unite to heal and find a way forward.  Local churches all over the nation were full on Wednesday, September 12 and Sunday, September 16.  The sensitivity to our human frailty and felt need for guidance and healing from our creator had not been greater since WWII and has not been greater since.

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help.

Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!’ Psalm 27:1-14

Friends, it seems for the past 20 years, our culture, values, and world view have been under attack.  It is almost as if the collapse of the Twin Towers began the domino effect of the collapse of the American towers of righteousness, unity, and a commitment to truth, especially Biblical truth.  Where on September 16 our churches were full, most churches this Sunday will have less in attendance than before the quarantine season of the Covid pandemic.

Just like the inevitable collapse of the Twin Towers once the integrity of the buildings failed, there seems to be an inevitable collapse of or culture and nation since the integrity of our values have failed.  The situation may not change, but how we live within and respond to the situation is still ours to decide.

‘One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.’ Psalm 27:4-5

When we intentionally dwell in the presence of God and in the fellowship of His family, we will find safety in His shelter our whole life long.  You are Valued and Loved, Pastor B

 

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.