Preaching September 11th - It's Not About Flag Waving
Many of us are struggling with these sermons.
I've more than a few friends who have decided to basically let the anniversary go, and give it a cursory mention in their worship services tomorrow. I've also noticed a few others who are using the opportunity to preach sermons about how awful America is.
That came out a bit harsh. I think I'll leave it though. It's true.
When I saw that the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was falling on a Sunday this year, I knew that to ignore it would be a huge mistake. For the past few weeks there have been countless documentaries, news stories and the like on the upcoming anniversary. It's made all of the memories of that Tuesday morning come rushing back for both myself and my parishoners. When pastors make the decision (out of hubris) to completely ignore what's happening in the wider world, they do their congregations a disservice.
I'm also not going to be preaching about how terrible America is for the way things have gone since 9/11. Some progressive pastors seem to enjoy using their "bully" pulpit to take America to task every single time there is a remotely patriotic holiday on or very near to Sunday.
Lots of people love this country. It's not perfect, but for the most part, I bet there are members of your congregation is getting sick and tired of hearing you enumerate all the ways it isn't. You can call people to faithfulness without being boorish and high-handed.
And this isn't about flag waving, or melodramatic speeches on Sunday.
The 10th Anniversary of the tragedies of September 11th should be a moment when pastors cast a new vision for a way forward that isn't grounded in fear and anger. And no one feels like taking a bite out of the guilt burger when we do it.
The reconstruction of the World Trade Center and the memorial that will be at Ground Zero are just two of the many ways that we're showing that Evil doesn't get the last word.