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by Phil Ware
One of the earliest video reports of the rescue effort at ground zero of the obliterated World Trade Center particularly haunts me. A trained rescue dog is led to the chilling and overwhelming mound of rubble to begin his hunt for victims. As he is released from his leash, he spins madly in a circle, overwhelmed by the scent of victims all around him. In his confusion, he doesnt know what to do, where to go, our how to begin. Humanely, his human handler calms him, leads him away, and then brings him back on a slower approach so he can begin his job with less confusion and greater productivity. He moves from confused circling to active help.
There is a great lesson for each of us in that in this horrifying, yet touching display of a desire to help by doing ones job. If you are at all like me, the events of this disaster have had an irresistable magnetic pull on your heart and thoughts. The shock of the sights and sounds are a permanent residue in our souls. Symbols, pictures, reactive precautions and changes dominate our news and flood every nook and cranny of our waking lives.
Many of us feel as if we have walked in a daze for the last month. Our hearts are still in agony for the families of thousands of people from over 80 nations who have lost loved ones. Our minds try to comprehend the tremendous toll on the economies of our world of interconnected nations. Comprehension of whole businesses with hundreds of employess vanishing, leaving hundreds of children orphans is beyond our capabilities. But, sooner or later, we must step away from our mad circling, and move back into productive action and service. Far from dishonoring the memory of those so brutally murdered, our return to active and productive life is our living memorial to them and what their lives meant. Life, especially life of redemptive service, must go on.
This is, however, a huge challenge:
Where do I start making a difference in a world as fractured as ours?The questions are legitimate and sincere. Their answers are as simple as they are important.
We go back to doing what we do well.
This strategy to move beyond mere circling to active service is not new. Its more than just a living parable displayed in the story of the rescue dog and his handler. This strategy is precisely what Jesus did when faced with the overwhelming demands at the beginning of his ministry. Take a moment and go read again the glimpse the Holy Spirit gives us into Jesus world of mission and ministry in Mark 1:32-45.
Yes, the last month has a been a month of memories marred by unspeakable tragedy and horror. Yes, we will never ever be quite the same. At the same time, however, people around us are in need of love, comfort, and encouragement. Our families need our attention and some return of normalcy. Our churches have untold opportunities for service. People with whom we work face all sorts of challenges both physically and spiritually. While we have every right to be dazed and confused for a time, lets ask our Father, our God, our Shepherd, to lead us away from the madness long enough to be restored and then to be returned to service. Its time we moved beyond circling and obsessing and moved back into the day to day service to others that makes our life worth living and brings Gods blessing to those around us.
We will never forget 9/11/2001. We must also remember that the inescapable call of 911 it is not a call to circle or obsess, but a call to action and redemptive service.
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: October 8, 2001
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