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Remembering 9/11

Note: a reprint from 2009

On September 11, 2001, it was my second day of classes in my first quarter of studies at Concordia Theological Seminary.  As I was leaving my class and heading to Kramer Chapel, people were talking about a plane accident where a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  Shortly thereafter, a second plane crashed into the second tower.  Needless to say, we were stunned by the morning’s events.  Our chapel service that day was led by Rev. Richard Radtke, then senior pastor of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The following is his sermon which he preached that day.

Text: Luke 11:25-35

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The news this morning is very grim.  A commercial airliner crashed into one of the buildings of the World Trade Center in New York City.  A few minutes later, another airline crashed into the second World Trade Center building.  Then another commercial airline crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C.  Just a few minutes ago, we heard news that one of the World Trade Center building collapsed.  There is a great deal of confusion and horror about all this.  In the midst of this tragic news, we ask: How can this be?  How can this happen in our own land – in America?  Yet, this terrible tragedy shows the brokenness of this world, and how this world is truly a culture of death.  This means that today we can see even more than ever the need for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why you are here – as professor, student, staff, or pastor.  In his words of comfort before the service began, President Wenthe said that the work of the seminary will go on because of what has happened this morning.  Nothing else can give us the true hope that we need other then the word of our Lord.  And so, in my homily this morning, I will spend a few moments on today’s Gospel, which is our calling to follow Jesus, and then apply our calling to this morning’s tragic events.

The call to follow Jesus surpasses all else.  But on our own, who could qualify?  Not one of us here, or anywhere, for that matter.  Because of our sin, we are all not only spiritually impoverished, but the Scriptures call us spiritually dead.  The call to follow Jesus is serious and severe.  We must renounce all to follow Him – and not depend on family, possessions, works, or self.

But the One who calls us is gracious.  The One who is sinless became sin for us, and carried our sin in His flesh to the cross.  In Jesus Christ we find our life and our hope.  His gospel. is our invitation.  He invites us to come to Him and find rest for our souls.  He invites us to come and follow Him.

The call to follow Jesus is especially meaningful for us today as we witness the horrifying events of this morning.  We know that the evil one, satan, is working ever so hard to silence the word of God.  He is working evil in this world to confuse and mislead all people, even the people of God.  He wants us to take our eyes off the gospel and the Lord Jess.  And so, we must trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord our God has promised in His word: “I will never leave your nor forsake you.”  Our Lord Jesus invited us to come to Him with these words: “Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  The Scriptures are filled with words of comfort that remind us of the presence and power of our Lord at all times, and especially when we face these difficult and perilous times.

Things will never be the same in the United States.  More tragedies may yet happen this day.  It will be “a day of infamy.”  I would urge all of us to pray for our nation, for President Bush, and for all our leaders, that God would give them strength and courage for today and for all the days to come.

In a few moments, we will have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.  We so need the strength that God gives in the true body and blood of His Son Jesus Christ.  We so need the presence of our Lord among us as we struggle with questions about this national tragedy.  Here at this altar we will be nourished, and we will receive the strength that only our Lord can give – strength for the moment and for the days that are ahead of us with all the uncertainties of these times.  Therefore I commend you to our gracious and loving God, and I pray with you for His strength for our nation and all our leaders and for those who proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May His peace be with you.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in 9-11

 

Remembrance of 9/11–“In Memory”

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

There are those dates that are forever etched in our minds. We remember where we were and what we were doing. Some may remember where they were on December 7, 1941, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That day sparked for our nation our entry into World War II and our declaring war upon Japan. Most of you remember November 22, 1963 – the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. July 20, 1969, famous words were uttered: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” For those of the younger generation, that is the day that the first American landed and stepped foot on the moon.

As we gather together this morning, we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001. On that day, we experienced an attack on American soil that we have never experienced before. That day and its events will forever be etched in the minds of Americans for as long as we live. We all remember where we were and what we were doing when our lives came to a screeching halt. For myself, it was the second day of classes at Concordia Theological Seminary. As we left the classroom buildings and made our way to the Chapel hearing of the events for the first time, we were speechless, as was the entire nation. Details were sketchy. All that we knew was a plane had flown into one of the world Trade Center towers. Shortly thereafter, a second plane flew into the other tower. As the morning’s events continued to unfold, we saw two more planes crash into the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field and the collapse of both towers.

In the midst of this tragic event, we ask ourselves, “How can this be? How can this happen in our own land?” The events of that day, of all of those tragic events that happen in this world are because we live in a sinful world. This tragedy shows the brokenness of this world, and how this world is truly a culture of death. This was not the way God had intended His creation to be. When God created the world and all that is in it, He created it to be perfect and without sin. Unfortunately, through the work of Satan, the perfection that God had created became infected with sin. Sin brings with it death, sin’s ultimate result.

One thing that we must always remember is that God does not cause evil to occur, He only allows it. The evil that occurs in this world is not by God’s doing, but it is the work of sin, brought into this world by Satan. He is the one who causes such tragedies to occur. He is the one who brings devastation. He is the one who brought death into this world.

Nearly 3000 men, women, and children died as a result of that day. I suspect the images of that day have somewhat faded but certainly have not been lost ten years later. That day, those images wrenched our hearts and subdued our lips and stirred our souls. We were brought to our knees at the days’ events.

Many people asked then and continue to ask today, “Where was God on September 11?” The question itself is age-old and has been asked many a time in moments of crisis. In the Old Testament, great men of faith from Jacob to Joseph and from Job to Jonah asked it. God is where He has always been – the Lord and Giver of Life, who reigns from His heavenly throne. He was with those in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon as they were being rescued; He was with those who perished; He is here with you. He is here this morning with us, gathered around His Word. He is there on the cross – giving His life in order to forgive and redeem His people.

The writer of the book of Hebrews says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” But man can indeed do a lot to us in our earthly lives. All one has to do is read the newspaper to see the wickedness of man: theft, murder, war, and the list goes on. But the Scriptures remind us of the love that God has for us, a love that goes beyond our human understanding. It is the love that God has for us that gives us something to look forward to; looking beyond this veil of tears that we live in and look to the eternal glory that God has prepared for us through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

During our earthly lives, we are called to follow Jesus. The call to follow Jesus is especially meaningful for us today as we remember those events that occurred ten years ago. We know that Satan is at work, doing all that he can to separate us from God, to silence God’s Word to His people. He is working evil in this world to confuse and mislead all people, even the people of God. His goal is to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus, to turn to the world or to turn to anything but God, for Satan knows that through God and His means, we receive forgiveness, life and salvation. He knows that our redemption is made only by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Satan is ever at work because he knows that God is the One who has and who will prevail.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 28, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Our Lord invites us to come to Him. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The Scriptures are filled with passages such as these, passages filled with words of comfort that remind us of the presence and power of our Lord at all times, and especially when we face difficult and perilous times like we did as a nation on September 11, 2001.

Today, as we remember the tragedy and the horror of September 11, we are reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God our heavenly Father does indeed love us and cares for us, providing for all of our earthly needs, as well as sending His Son Jesus Christ, to provide for our heavenly needs.

God’s perfect love for us is just that, it is perfect. It desires the salvation of all of mankind. It desires to have that saving relationship between God and His creation. The power of God’s love sustains us, strengthens us, and supports us, surely as it did throughout the weeks and months following 9/11, and even today. May the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord be with you all. In Jesus’ name, amen. Now the peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus, amen.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in 9-11, Sermons

 

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Remembering September 11

On September 11, 2001, it was my second day of classes in my first quarter of studies at Concordia Theological Seminary.  As I was leaving my class and heading to Kramer Chapel, people were talking about a plane accident where a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  Shortly thereafter, a second plane crashed into the second tower.  Needless to say, we were stunned by the morning’s events.  Our chapel service that day was led by Rev. Richard Radtke, then senior pastor of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The following is his sermon which he preached that day.

Text: Luke 11:25-35

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The news this morning is very grim.  A commercial airliner crashed into one of the buildings of the World Trade Center in New York City.  A few minutes later, another airline crashed into the second World Trade Center building.  Then another commercial airline crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C.  Just a few minutes ago, we heard news that one of the World Trade Center building collapsed.  There is a great deal of confusion and horror about all this.  In the midst of this tragic news, we ask: How can this be?  How can this happen in our own land – in America?  Yet, this terrible tragedy shows the brokenness of this world, and how this world is truly a culture of death.  This means that today we can see even more than ever the need for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why you are here – as professor, student, staff, or pastor.  In his words of comfort before the service began, President Wenthe said that the work of the seminary will go on because of what has happened this morning.  Nothing else can give us the true hope that we need other then the word of our Lord.  And so, in my homily this morning, I will spend a few moments on today’s Gospel, which is our calling to follow Jesus, and then apply our calling to this morning’s tragic events.

The call to follow Jesus surpasses all else.  But on our own, who could qualify?  Not one of us here, or anywhere, for that matter.  Because of our sin, we are all not only spiritually impoverished, but the Scriptures call us spiritually dead.  The call to follow Jesus is serious and severe.  We must renounce all to follow Him – and not depend on family, possessions, works, or self.

But the One who calls us is gracious.  The One who is sinless became sin for us, and carried our sin in His flesh to the cross.  In Jesus Christ we find our life and our hope.  His gospel. is our invitation.  He invites us to come to Him and find rest for our souls.  He invites us to come and follow Him.

The call to follow Jesus is especially meaningful for us today as we witness the horrifying events of this morning.  We know that the evil one, satan, is working ever so hard to silence the word of God.  He is working evil in this world to confuse and mislead all people, even the people of God.  He wants us to take our eyes off the gospel and the Lord Jess.  And so, we must trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord our God has promised in His word: “I will never leave your nor forsake you.”  Our Lord Jesus invited us to come to Him with these words: “Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  The Scriptures are filled with words of comfort that remind us of the presence and power of our Lord at all times, and especially when we face these difficult and perilous times.

Things will never be the same in the United States.  More tragedies may yet happen this day.  It will be “a day of infamy.”  I would urge all of us to pray for our nation, for President Bush, and for all our leaders, that God would give them strength and courage for today and for all the days to come.

In a few moments, we will have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.  We so need the strength that God gives in the true body and blood of His Son Jesus Christ.  We so need the presence of our Lord among us as we struggle with questions about this national tragedy.  Here at this altar we will be nourished, and we will receive the strength that only our Lord can give – strength for the moment and for the days that are ahead of us with all the uncertainties of these times.  Therefore I commend you to our gracious and loving God, and I pray with you for His strength for our nation and all our leaders and for those who proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May His peace be with you.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2009 in 9-11, Chapel, Devotion, Nation, Sermons

 

Where were you? 9-11-01

calendar.gifDo you remember where you were? Do you remember what you were doing on September 11, 2001? It was my second day of class at Concordia Theological Seminary. We had just finished our first class of the day: Lutheran Worship. It was 9:55 am and the bell was tolling for Chapel to begin in 5 minutes. We were making our way up from the building to the Chapel. Those of us coming out of class went about our day like it was ordinary: we were talking, joking; everything we would normally do. When we arrived at the steps of the Chapel, the mood was somber. We heard students talking about a plane crash in New York. One plane had struck the World Trade Center. Shortly after that, another plane struck the other tower. Finally, both towers had collapsed. We were speechless. Everything in our lives were forever changed at that moment. Tears started to flow, even from the manliest of men. At that moment, no one adhered to the statement that boys don’t cry. Cry we did.

Rev. Richard Radtke from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne was the preacher for Chapel. (His sermon can be found in CTQ 65:4, p. 297-298.) He always preached at the opening of the quarter. That day, he threw his sermon out the window and tried to give to all of us there some ounce of comfort following the morning’s events. Following Chapel, President Wenthe dismissed classes for the day. We all returned to our dorms or to the Student Commons and our eyes were fixed on the television. We saw over and over the planes crashing into the buildings. We saw over and over people jumping out of buildings to their death, only to save themselves from being burnt alive. We saw the towers fall, again and again and again. Little was said. What needed to be said? A tragedy had happened like no other in our nation’s history. We sat and watched as the events unfolded.

Six years later, the pain is still real. The horror is still real. What happened six years ago today will forever be engrained into our minds. To those who lost friends or loved ones, our thoughts and prayers are with you. To the nation, God Bless America!

Lift High the Cross

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2007 in 9-11, Nation

 
 
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