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Column — What happened to ‘That’ America

This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks upon American soil which occurred Sept. 11, 2001. Twenty years. Seems like just yesterday I was in a meeting in Charlottesville, at Cherry Avenue Christian Church. I had just gotten off the phone with one of the families where I was a youth minister hearing how one of the teenagers had overdosed on pills because a girl he had asked out on a date had broken his heart and embarrassed him. As soon as we hung up, someone rolled a television in for us to see the horror as it unfolded. A gymnasium filled with children’s ministers, youth ministers, preaching ministers from all over the Commonwealth stopped everything and began to pray. Upon returning home prayer services were immediately planned for our community to come and pray as long as desired in our building.

America was hurt. Americans were shocked. It was time for our Nation to draw together. Seems like yesterday, doesn’t it? I am confident anyone and everyone around can tell you what they were doing that day. I can’t recall what I did or said last month, last week, heck — even yesterday — but I can give full detail as to Sept. 11, 2001. Just 20 years ago and yet still so fresh in our mind and on our heart. Americans came together and hugged, helped, and rallied like nothing I had ever seen.

What happened to THAT America? Have we forgotten all that occurred? Have we become so self centered that we now neglect what we once were when we rallied regardless of age, social status, color of God? Are our churches as filled as they were then? Or have we set those days behind and forgotten to make God, Country, Community a priority?

In my years of fire training there’s a practice taught: “Risk a lot to save a lot. Risk a little to save a little. Risk nothing to save nothing.” This phrase also explains our churches. Are we willing to put a lot out there in order to save the lost, or are we content where we currently sit? On that day 20 years ago, America was ready and willing to do whatever it took to secure our Nation and too make sure all here were cared for and loved. Churches opened doors for days and went above and beyond to make sure all were invited and cared for. What happened to those feelings?

“I will remember the works of The Lord — I will reflect on all You’ve done. Your way, O God, is holy (Psalm 77:11-13).” Father, help us never forget Your providing ways. Through Jesus, amen.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.