The day dawned clear and bright. Cool but not yet the promised cold of autumn was in the air. It was a Wednesday. The sound of geese honking filled the crisp morning air.
But there was a sound missing. At first it went unnoticed. But after a few minutes, it became clear that this Wednesday was unlike any Wednesday in America for many decades.
The sound of jet airplanes did not fill the morning sky. Living near a metropolis like Chicago this was unnerving.
It was September 12, 2001.
Nearly 3000 people had died the day before in New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. The iconic skyscrapers of the World Trade Center were gone, having been replaced by a smoking hole that smelled of burning death.
They say that America changed on September 11, 2001. And for a while they were right. No airplanes would fly for a week. Professional baseball was put on hold for a couple of days. Ministers planned prayer services and memorial services all across the country – some working together with those they wouldn’t even think of worshiping with on September 10.
America did change on that day. September 12, 2001 was a very different day.
But would it last?
Looking back nine years later, there are some things that have changed but most others did not. Places of worship were full(er) on September 15 & 16, 2001, but most did not see a repeat of that attendance the following weekend. Air travel and baseball had resumed. People went back to work, back to school, back to living a “normal” life.
Yes, air travel had changed. Now you can’t bring a bottle of water through the security check point and you have to take off your shoes. We’ve gotten used to the color “orange” in the last nine years.
But other than that, I don’t see that much has changed.
Which leads me to the question, “What does it take to change the lives of people today?”
A great triumph like winning a war or a great tragedy like September 11, 2001 cause a pause, but do they really enact true and lasting change? If they cannot, what can?
The answer is paradoxical. The answer is ironic. The one thing that can enact true change is Jesus Christ, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The one who does not change – Jesus, the Son of God – is the only one who can bring true change to a person’s heart and life.
Many thought that 9/11 would bring lasting change to American lives. That the attacks would turn peoples’ hearts back to God and that the places of worship would be full once again. The American memory recalls that this is what happened after December 7, 1941, and V-E Day and V-J Day.
But unless the heart is broken to repent of sin and turn to the everlasting peace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this change will not last, and for most will not happen at all.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Not even tremendous and horrendous acts like 9/11 can bring true and lasting change. But the one more powerful than anything in the universe can.
Jesus Christ brings change because He brings forgiveness of sins. Through the truest love in the universe Jesus died on cross to pay the price for all our sin. On that day – the first century’s “9/11” – true change came on the following Sunday. Places of worship weren’t filled like they were following our 9/11. It wasn’t a full place but an empty place that brought terrific change to the world – the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. He rose from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity.
And Jesus loves you with a changeless – and life-changing – love. That will bring true and lasting change to your life.
© 2010 True Men Ministries, Inc.