Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.
Following the attack on America 20 years ago, a surge of patriotism erupted in America. Old Glory was flying from many homes. Military recruiters didn't have to try hard to make their quotas. Veterans were showing up at military bases volunteering to do anything to help.
Songs were written and the two that I still listen to are Toby Keith's "The Angry American" and Alan Jackson's "Where Were You?"
"Where Were You" deals with a wider range of emotions than "The Angry American." Jackson employs spiritual and Christian verbiage. Note the following line, "Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer?" As humans we want to know why.
He also penned, "But I know Jesus and I talk to God. And I remember this from when I was young. Faith, hope and love, are some good things he gave us, but the greatest is love."
Jackson appears to have a Christian upbringing. He goes back to what he has learned in his youth which anchors him as he lives through this tragedy. He knows an attack occurred, he knows people have died. "But I know Jesus."
Without interviewing him directly it is hard to know exactly what these lines mean to him. I would hope that it means that he knows that Jesus is his redeemer and savior who came into this sinful and corrupt world. He healed, comforted, and in going to the cross took all the evil, including that of 9/11 on to Himself. He bore this sin of mankind so that our Father in heaven would still be our Father who loves us.
Jesus is the answer to his question of why. It is faith in Christ and all that He did that tells us there is hope in this sinful world where hate and sin still rear their ugly heads.
Jackson says he prays. Prayer is also an act of faith. Faith that God will not only hear but will answer. God's answer can be "yes," "no," or "wait," but because of Christ we know that answer will also be one of love.
Lastly, he references St. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
He ends his song with the words, "And the greatest is love." St. Paul understands that love is the greatest because love will last into all eternity.
Faith trusts when we cannot see, in heaven we will see God. Hope looks to the future, again when Jesus returns our hope is fulfilled.
But love began with God even before creation showing itself fully in Christ and will go into all eternity. St. Paul tells us that nothing will separate us from the love of God, including 9/11.
There is a time for righteous anger, but I hope you might focus on the Alan Jackson song this Patriots Day more than Toby Keith's. After all, "the greatest is love."
• David Otten is the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.