On September 11, 2001, a mere 350 yards from the twin towers, a beautiful brick and mortar structure stood tall as it had for 235 years. When the towers fell and the dust settled, not one brick from this structure was disturbed and not one pane of glass was broken. This place was St. Paul’s Chapel. While it is miraculous that this historical place of faith stood amidst the devastation around it, what is even more inspirational is what began in this place on September 12, 2001.
When the staff returned to survey the possible damage and found that the chapel was undisturbed except for the thick layers of dust and soot, they recognized their building had stood for a reason. Their ministry started simple at first, water and cold drinks for the first responders working “the pile.” But within a few days the men of the congregation set up a barbecue out front and flipped hamburgers. One by one, more and more volunteers showed up at this haven amidst chaos to offer their services. Podiatrists, chiropractors, counselors, chaplains, and massage therapists, set up “shop” within the chapel walls. The doors remained open 24-7 as 5,000 volunteers came to care for these first responders.
The chapel’s pews became bunks – a place of needed rest for the embattled and grieving workers. The sidewalk in front became a virtual grocery store as thousands of items were donated to feed and nourish these hungry and thirsty men and women. Notes, drawings and letters from school children filled the sanctuary thanking and encouraging each of these weary warriors.
St. Paul’s is now a memorial not only to what happened on 9-11-01 but to the amazing ministry of love that took place within those 200-year old walls. I bring this story to you, not just because we are coming up on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, but because there is a parable here for us as believers.
First, amidst the chaos of evil, death, and darkness in the world around us we must stand, and stand tall. We have a Foundation that can never be shaken and His name is Jesus. Second, we are surrounded by the hungry, hurting, and grieving. We are to be a light to them in the midst of their darkness. We are to be the deliverers of the Light that is eternal; the Water that will keep them from ever getting thirsty again; the Bread of Life. We have not only received for ourselves what they long for, we have been commanded to share it with them. Finally, we have been divinely designed to give our gifts to the world. Each of us has a unique way, a Holy Spirit-designed giftedness, that is meant to be used to touch and change the lives of those He puts in our path. You have something special and unique to offer this world. Don’t ignore it. Don’t walk away from it. Don’t miss another opportunity to share it.
9-11 has been appropriately designated as the National Day of Service. What will you do this year to not only honor those who served us on that day 10 years ago, but to glorify the One who gave His life for us to live in freedom for all eternity? Let’s not just B DA GLV on 9-11… let’s live everyday to glorify Him!