Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sinking Sand

The passing of the tenth anniversary of September 11 brings hidden emotions to the surface. I know how deeply many in Australia feel at this time and we can only imagine the feelings and pain that is stirred in the US. It was a day that changed the world. Many can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. For some in this part of the world the events interrupted the screening of a West Wing episode. For others, like me, we went to bed that night knowing nothing of the unfolding drama, only to wake to the morning radio news in disbelief and horror.
I remember many of my first reactions: “People don’t hijack planes any more”; “Surely not four planes.” As I turned on the TV news I was not to know I was watching a replay, as I yelled to my wife: “At least the buildings are still standing”; and then as the replay rolled on, “Oh no, one of the towers is collapsing!”; and finally, “Oh no – now the other tower is coming down too.” 
I have one other rather unusual memory of that tragic week. Just the Sunday before I had finished up with a church I had worked at for nearly ten years. The job had been the ride of my life, so leaving was understandably tinged with sadness. We sang songs of praise that night and the last song was an old hymn sung to a more contemporary tune. The song ended with the hauntingly moving words …
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
No merit of my own I claim,
But wholly lean on Jesus' Name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When you are leaving a job of ten years to start again, your world feels like sinking sand. When a pastor leaves a church the members can feel that their church life is not as secure as they imagined. But that week showed that even if you are in one of the grandest, tallest, most secure buildings in the world, it too can become just sinking sand. The financial district of New York, the symbol of security, wealth, achievement and grandness, was turned into a pile of sand and dust.
To trust in Jesus is to put our hope not just in this world, but the next. To trust in Jesus is to acknowledge that we, and this world are passing away, so our hope must be in more than material. To believe that our future is secure, not in earthly peace or human achievement but in the graciousness of our creator God, is truly our hope. To know Christ, His death and resurrection, is to truly stand on the solid rock.