Tuesday is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.
None of us alive will forget where we were when we heard. The disbelief, the images on the TV screen and the (then) slowly streaming Internet, the uncertainty, the anger, the raw fear.
I remember that sense of fear. It morphed relatively quickly into resolve, but it was there.
And it lingers.
In what many experience going through the TSA line at an airport. In conversations about "what if it happens again?". In the way both major political parties seem to capitalize on the fear to further their aims. In the way some look twice at folks who are obviously observant Muslims.
On 9/11 we should remember all of those emotions, all of those who died and those who sacrificed - some to the death - to serve and save others. It was a day extraordinary both for its evil and for its heroism.
But we must not fear.
And we must not give in to fear-mongering or excluding others based on our fear.
Why? Because the Bible says so.
When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, their first words were "Fear not!"
Towards the end of the New Testament, Jesus' good friend John was doing his best to summarize the indefinable essence of love and he said this: "There is no fear in love, for perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).
Followers of Christ should be the most fearless people on the planet. Because we know that death does not get the last word.
So we spend our time and treasure and our lives serving others.
So we refuse to give into fear in the form of demonizing or marginalizing others.
So we have a generosity of heart and a passion of spirit that allows us to do what Jesus did and say to our worst enemies, the ones who would do us in if they could: "Father, forgive them..."
On 9/11, where will you strike a blow for courage and against fear?