This past week has been “Homecoming week” at my High School. The week has consisted of various events from an all school barbeque to a scorching bonfire and energetic pep rallies, all culminating tonight in the football game and then again with the dance tomorrow.

I may be one of the only juniors who do not look forward to this week with the anticipation of a 5 year old awaiting Christmas. It’s not that I don’t I have school spirit; I guess the all out celebration just overwhelms me a bit.

But the term “homecoming” has been on my mind this week. If we focus on the “home” piece of homecoming, the word “home” can be used in a lot of different contexts.

Home page.
Home rule.
Home depot.
Home sick.
Home team.
Home school.
Home town.
Home land.

Let’s take a look at that last phrase. Home land.

Eight years ago today, a tragedy took place in our “Home Land.” Do you remember where you were that day? Do you remember what you were doing when you heard the news?


On September 11, 2001, an estimated total of 2,974 Americans lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on our homeland. Among these were the passengers aboard flights 11, 175, 77, and 93; the fire fighters who responded to the scenes; and the various people working in the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Think about that number. Two thousand nine hundred seventy four. 2,974 people lost. 2,974 friends gone. 2,974 family members never seen again. 2,974 “I love you”s never spoken. 2,974 dreams never achieved. 2,974....

Death and loss are both painful. Seeing your country, your homeland attacked like this is painful. But even through the pain and the loss and the grief that surrounds September 11th, we have to remember the words of Jesus in John 11: 25-26.

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Today is a day to pause and remember 9/11. We have to stop what we’re doing and remember those 2, 974 people who died. We have to remember, that we have a God who loves us enough to be there to strengthen and protect us even in our weakest moments and most painful times. And we have to remember that when we cry—rather it is one single tear or weeping until your heart aches—our God does hear us. And he cries too.

In English class we read a quote the other day that said, “Don’t take life so serious, no one makes it out alive.” And while it may seem a bit cynical in light of today, it is true. No one knows how much time they have left. It could be years, months, weeks, days, or maybe only a few hours. We are here for such a finite amount of time, that wasting just one second can waste so many opportunities. It wastes time that could be spent with friends and with family. It wastes time that could be spent saying “I love you” to those you care about. It wastes time that could be spent achieving your dreams.

But eventually time does run out and we will move on from this world to another. In Revelations 21:4, it says “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Based on that text, I have to believe there is something better on the other side. The Bible tells us that after our final moments on this Earth have come and gone, God will be there to welcome you to Heaven, and to celebrate your “Homecoming.” And it will be a celebration that both excites and overwhelms.

In closing, I’d like to share a poem that was written about 9/11. The author is unknown.

You say you will never forget where you were when You heard the news On September 11, 2001. Neither will I.
I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room With a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I Held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the Peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it Is OK..I am ready to go.'
I was with his wife when he called as she fed Breakfast to their children. I held her up as she Tried to understand his words and as she realized He wasn't coming home that night.
I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a Woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been Knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said. 'Of course I will show you the way home - only Believe in Me now.'
I was at the base of the building with the Priest Ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He Heard my voice and answered.
I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, With every prayer. I was with the crew as they Were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the Believers there, comforting and assuring them that their Faith has saved them.
I was in Texas, Virginia, California, Michigan, Afghanistan. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?
I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew Every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me For the first time on the 86th floor.
Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the Smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... This way... Take My hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.
I did not place you in the Tower that day. You May not know why, but I do. However, if you were There in that explosive moment in time, would you have Reached for Me?
Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey For you. But someday your journey will end. And I Will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may Be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are 'ready to go.'
I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

May God bless you today and every day and may God bless America!

Zach Herzog

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