“We are marching in the light of God” – South African Hymn
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down your life for another.” – John 15:13
This past week marked the 17th anniversary of 9-11. There are a number of images from that day I cannot forget. Watching the plane fly into one of the towers; the apocalyptic smoke billowing into the sky and streets; the collapse of the towers as they come tumbling down. All these images are burned into my memories of that horrible day.
But the one image that continues to take ahold of me was a news video taken as the first responders came upon the scene of the burning towers. As the firemen approach the burning towers walking together carrying hoses and axes and oxygen tanks, it is their faces I remember. The video shows them looking up at the smoking towers and their eyes reflect the fear one would expect to see at the immensity, at the danger, they would be confronting climbing up those stairs to save as many people as possible. But you cannot escape the sense of resolve in those eyes as well. The courageous determination as they marched together, step by step, into the blazing inferno that would take many of their lives.
In this day and time of discord and dysfunction, it is this image that sticks with me reminding me of the best of our humanity. Men and women of all ages and races and creeds marching together to save their fellow human beings trapped in those towers. In tragedy, that the best of our humanity comes forth despite the fear; despite the chaos; and despite the danger. We easily forget this at times when politicians seek to use fear to divide us from one another and the “Other.” That video image of those first responders will always be for me a resounding challenge to this cynical practice. That on the day when we saw the worst of hateful ideology, we saw men and women marching together with courage and determination to save others.
May we march together!
Grace and Peace,