“Do you remember where you were when….”  It’s the beginning of a phrase you don’t really relish in saying, because tragic subject matter usually ends up following it.  This month, it’s inevitable that you’ll either ask or be asked “Do you remember where you were when tragedy struck on September 11?” 

 

For many of us, the images of crashing planes, billowing smoke, soot-covered streets, running people, and tireless rescue workers will haunt our minds for years to come.  During the first couple of months after September 11, it seemed as if everyone truly followed the command to “love one another.”  Strangers would greet you on the street without qualms.   Neighbors who had lived next door to each other for years with no contact suddenly got together for block parties.  And family members who had lost touch picked up the phone and reconnected. 

 

Perhaps one of these scenarios hits home with you.  Undoubtedly everyone the world over was affected and influenced to make changes in their lives and in our world.  We asked several artists from the contemporary Christian music industry if the tragic events of September 11 affected them and caused them to make changes in their lives….

 

 

Shane Barnard (w/Shane Everett)
“I don't even want to attempt to say that I fathom the debt of the pain and despair that happened and will continue to happen because of the events of that day.   But I do know that before a word reaches man's tongue, He knows it completely.   That there will not be even a sparrow that falls to the ground outside the strong hand of the Lord.   That Bin Laden is NOT a worthy opponent of the Lord; for surely his platform was even granted by Him who crowns kings and rulers of nations.   But even he is ultimately being used (even if it doesn't seem so) to shout the glory of the One True Living God--I have to trust this.   I have to cry out for His ways--for His sight--they are so much higher.   Sometimes they don't make sense and they hurt.   But they are higher and they are true.

Under the banner of grace, we see in scripture that bad things mean more of Jesus.   In Him, we are no longer under wrath, but we are under grace!!  And trials through perseverance bring character.   Bad things are now good because they mean MORE OF JESUS."
 
"Come, let us return to the Lord.  He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.  After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.  Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.  As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth" (Hosea 6:1-3 NIV).

 

Jesse Butterworth (Daily Planet)

"After September 11, I realized the little things in life were some of the greatest things in life.  The simple pleasures of holding my wife's hand or eating until I'm full, I took for granted.  After September 11, I was reminded life was short and we should enjoy each day because these are the best days of our lives."

 

 

Jason Kennedy (Cadet)

"I woke up to 'Good morning.  Happy Birthday.  Go watch TV.'  It was my 28th birthday and being on the west coast, it is harder to relate to, kind of like it was happening to someone else.  But we could feel the impact as Americans.   We actually had a concert scheduled for that night with one of my best friends up in Portland, Ore.   When it happened, we weren't sure what to do.  You never know the protocol, and we ended up canceling the show and rescheduling understandably.

"The next show we had was a 'See You at the Pole' rally.  It was a bit different with that hanging over our heads.   The crowd was a little bit more raw, their nerves were exposed, and everyone was a bit more attentive to the message of the songs and what we said.   Every time we mentioned hope everyones ears perked up like, do you have the answer?   It was more of  if you have hope I would like to hear that.

"When I have a family someday and my kids ask why everyone's sad on my birthday, I'll have to explain it to them."

 

 

Jeff Deyo
"One of the incredible shifts that took place for me was my attitude toward the 'Star Spangled Banner' and other patriotic things.  Just weeks before the terrorist attacks, we asked our guitarist to play a 'silly', Jimmy Hendricks version of the song at a youth conference.  We were actually making fun of the song, somewhat like you might make fun of an 'old school' nursery rhyme.  But, of course, after 9/11, our feelings toward the 'Star Spangled Banner' radically changed!!  Suddenly we began adding this song into our worship concerts, and we began feeling genuine pride for our country.  This is a feeling that I believe my generation had lost or had never experienced, but now, it seemed to be as strong as ever, right in the face of this horrible tragedy.

"Another thing I began considering was a shift in the focus of our patriotism in relation to God.  One of the more recurring cries after 9/11 was 'God Bless
America'.   We sang it.   We chanted it.   We screamed it, and we prayed it.   And we should have.   But, if it is even slightly possible that God had turned His back on America, allowing these terrible events to happen, even temporarily, to test us, I began to wonder whether we should begin inverting the order of this popular patriotic phrase, and cry out boldly and bravely, 'AMERICA …BLESS GOD!!!!!!'

"If we would truly turn our hearts back to God, back to His heart, by joining together to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked, selfish ways, then He would certainly turn back to healing, forgiving, caring for and watching over His people again in America.   I believe this must be our cry.   And this must be our heartbeat.   This must be our song, and we must mean it like we’ve never meant it:   AMERICA BLESS GOD!!"

 

 

Bill Gaither

"Awareness in general of the important things.  A dramatic awareness of the important things in life such as time with my family; cookouts with the grandkids; sunsets with Gloria--and the beautiful times with my friends.  Realizing the importance of every minute we have in this day."

 

Gersh

"I was on my way to the studio, driving right by the Nashville airport.  The sky was cloudless, piercing blue, and utterly empty.  No muffled roar of jet engines, not a single vapor trail etched on the horizon.  All that my mind's eye could see was that incomprehensible image on TV of planes exploding into buildings.

 

"Did it change me?  It changed all of us.  Did it change my writing?  Regrettably, it reminded me of what I should never have forgotten.  We who are privileged to write Christian music spend far too much time looking through the latest drum loop files and wondering what will fly on Christian radio.  The food chain in Christian music, from writer to radio programmer is often tasteless and stale.  The events of 9/11 remind me to think--when did I last look into my wife's eyes, touch the softness of her cheek, and tell her I love her?  Or feel that ache and deep yearning as I watch the innocent face of my son gently sleeping?

 

"Jesus said, 'I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.'  9/11 reminds us that life is exquisitely beautiful and devastatingly fragile and deserves to be written about with great heart and feeling."

 

 

Joyce Martin McCollough (The Martins)

"The tragedy of September 11 made me more aware of people around me and of their needs.   I have always thought of myself as a sensitive person, but my awareness has been intensified.   We visited the Pennsylvania crash site recently, and I was surprised that I could feel such grief for people I did not even know.   I found myself wondering about their children, their parents, their spouses; but mostly I found myself wondering about their souls.  Who knew Jesus?  Who didn't?   It was another reminder that we can never share the Gospel too much.  We never know if it is the last time someone might hear it."

 

 

Chonda Pierce

"I don’t carry my fingernail clippers on the plane with me anymore.  I’ve had 14 pairs of fingernail clippers confiscated from me.    Seriously…I never leave my house now with anything unsaid.  We talk about it before we leave.    {September 11] woke me up at the crucialness to help people find God.  What I do is showbiz in nature, but at the bottom line is man.  Someone might leave my concert and not find Jesus.  [September 11] is a sign.  I don’t know how God can tarry.   It’s made me go, wait a minute, time is short and we need to get some work done." 

 

 

Joy Williams

"I've experienced in my own life a deeper desire to find refuge in Christ, and I've noticed a greater hunger for worship overall from the people I have encountered since 9/11."