Never Go Back to Normal Again
Four thousand gathered for mid-day prayer in a downtown cathedral. A New York City church, filled and emptied six times last Tuesday. The owner of a Manhattan tennis shoe store threw open his doors and gave running shoes to those fleeing the towers. People stood in lines to give blood, in hospitals to treat the sick, in sanctuaries to pray for the wounded. America was different this week. 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 and box scores to orphans and widows and the future of the world. We were different this week. Republicans stood next to Democrats, Catholics prayed with Jews. Skin color was covered by the ash of burning towers. This is a different country than it was a week ago. We're not as self-centered as we were. We're not as self-reliant as we were. Hands are out. Knees are bent. This is not normal. And I have to ask the question, "Do we want to go back to normal?" Are we being given a glimpse of a new way of life? Are we, as a nation, being reminded that the enemy is not each other and the power is not in ourselves and the future is not in our bank accounts? Could this unselfish prayerfulness be the way God intended for us to live all along? Maybe this, in His eyes, is the way we are called to live. And perhaps the best response to this tragedy is to refuse to go back to normal. Perhaps the best response is to follow the example of Tom Burnet. He was a passenger of flight 93. Minutes before the plane crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania he reached is 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 care more. We can resolve to pray more. And we can resolve that, God being our helper, we'll never go back to normal again.
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