• Rev. Mark Tews

Back To "Normal"

(Based on a 2002 commentary by Max Lucado)

Consider what’s happened here in America over the past 16 years since September 11, 2001. The day the when normal life, as we then defined normal changed forever. Remember what happened in the days right after that awful day? Hundreds of thousands gathered for prayer in Churches, Cathedrals, Synagogues, Chapels, Mosques and sports arenas. One New York Cathedral filled and emptied six times in one day. People stood in lines to give blood, in hospitals to help treat the sick, and in sanctuaries to pray for the wounded and grieving. America was different.

We wept for people we did not know. We sent money to families we’ve never seen. Talk-show hosts read Scriptures, journalists printed prayers. Our focus shifted from fashion hemlines, celebrities and box scores to orphans and widows and the future of our world.

We were different from before. Republicans and Democrats stood together and sang. Christians, Muslims, Jews – rich and poor – black and white – police and citizens – everyone came together. Our country was different than it was on September 10, 2001. We were not as self-centered as we were, we were not as self-reliant as we were. We reached out more, we found ourselves down on bended knee more. For many this was not normal. The question must be asked, have we gone back to normal? Do we really want to, go back to “normal”? We were different then. Again, recently, not on quite the same scale, but nevertheless, we again recently witnessed the same sort of thing happening after hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Once again, we Americans, at least for a time, have been given a glimpse of a new way of life. Are we as a nation being reminded that the enemy is not each other? That power is not in ourselves? That our futures are so much more than property and possessions? Could the unselfish, prayerful, helpful, sacrificial acts of the past couple of weeks be the way God intended for us to treat each other all the time, all along? Isn’t this the way He has called us to live with one another? Perhaps the best response for all of America as the anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone and as the recovery and relief efforts of Harvey and Irma, and now maybe Maria too go on, is to refuse to go back to “normal”.

Perhaps the best response is to follow the example of Tom Burnet. He was a passenger on flight 93. Minutes before the plane crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania he reached his wife by cell phone. “We’re all going to die,” he told her, “but there are three of us who are going to do something about it.”

We can “do something about it” as well. We can resolve to keep caring more, to keep loving more, to keep praying more, and with the Lord as our helper and guide, we can resolve never to get back to “normal” again.