September 11th. It is a date among 364 others on our calendar. In the wee hours of the morning on September 11, 2001, we didn’t know how significant that date would become, or how we would stop short in the years that followed whenever we heard it spoken. Today especially, ten years later, as we hear radio messages and watch television programs recounting the events and recalling the sorrow we felt as united Americans that day, we can’t help but remember death and destruction. Things changed. We can count, and keep counting, the things that changed because of that moment in time.
This morning, I had the sweet privilege of seeing a baby girl named Phiona become a child of God. This precious life, adorned in a beautiful gown, knew nothing of what our loving God was doing for her in that moment. She didn’t have to know. She was not deserving of what was happening to her, just as no sinner merits so great a gift. Phiona was the direct object of the verb in the sentence “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I baptize you. Phiona did nothing. We are all helpless without Jesus Christ, no matter how old we are. In his great mercy, Jesus, the Lamb of God, redeemed each and every one of us, whether we realize it or not. It is during our Divine Service of Baptism when we are reminded of the comforting words of our Savior, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) Therefore, we can abandon any thought that we have any power. We have nothing except that which Christ alone gives to us.
So today while being reminded of death, and of dreadful acts, and of humankind’s sinful struggle with false authority and power, we, united in redemption, can redirect our focus to life -- the eternal life which we are given in Christ Jesus. We can remember Saint Paul’s words to the Philippians, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” looking forward to that blessed day when every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Almighty God grant you blessings in abundance on this day and every day!