The truth is that I had no words this morning and I am still at a loss.
So, I will let William Collins speak for me. This isn't the first time I've referred to this poem, How Sleep the Brave. Same sentiment fits.
|HOW sleep the brave, who sink to rest|
|By all their country's wishes blest!|
|When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,|
|Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,|
|She there shall dress a sweeter sod||5|
|Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.|
|By fairy hands their knell is rung;|
|By forms unseen their dirge is sung;|
|There Honour comes, a pilgrim grey,|
|To bless the turf that wraps their clay;||10|
|And Freedom shall awhile repair|
|To dwell, a weeping hermit, there!|
I wandered into the little church next to the 9-11 memorial. You know me, I like old cemeteries and this one had some from before the Revolutionary War. The church was open, so I wandered in there as well. I wasn't prepared for what I saw. This was the closest aid station for first responders and was open day and night for the year they were doing rescue and recovery, and then debris removal. They have collected everything from that year and it is on display. This is where the first responders from all over the country slept. The church pews are pocked with scratches and worn paint from boots and gear they were too tired to shuck off. This is where, like the rest of us, they began to grieve for the dead. Only they did theirs while working 12 hour shifts looking for the missing or pulling wreckage from the site. This is where the church staff, as well as their congregation, served these men and women by providing water, food, clothing, pillow and blankets. They sat with the first responders as they wrestled with their loss and the emotion torture their work had to have been. The humbly served and sat beside and prayer with.
The next time I talk about the church being Christ in the community, the model I'll think of from here on out is St. Paul's.
As usual, I'm using my iPad to compose and so will fix the photos and add a couple hyperlinks when I get a chance.