By Guest Blogger Karen Kuch, BNT Tour Director
I knew when I saw our BNT itinerary, this was going to be a day of extremes…to worship at the Brooklyn Tabernacle is to experience a touch of heaven. Ok, truthfully, I don’t expect heaven to have deacons holding up fingers to show how many seats are left…there will be room for all! However, sitting in a packed, multi-cultural assembly and singing and moving to the praises of Jesus seems a tiny glimpse into what it will be like when all tribes and nations gather. The choir at the Tabernacle felt like it enveloped us…I’m not sure if it was the acoustics or the precise unity of all those voices, or the joy of the songs themselves, but, oh how wonderful to be a part of that sound of praise! The message was direct and down to the nitty gritty of our lives…a challenge to walk faithfully and not fall aside like King Joash from the Scripture reading that day. It was a recognition of our humanity and God’s power to sustain us. As we left and more hundreds filed in, we got a sense of an on-going day of praise and worship that had been injected into our souls to be carried out onto the street and into the fabric of our everyday lives.
The next stop—lunch—was a beautiful transition: a reminder that New York is indeed a “big” city! The food court was set in an elegant building full of upscale shops and offices with a place to sit and look over the harbor. Such a contrast to the traffic and barrage of inner city high rises just a few steps away. That was needed because the next stop was a somber one.
We entered the 911 Museum remembering that day’s horrid events, but the reality of seeing the pieces of the twisted metal and hearing the stories of those who suffered brought it into our worlds in a much more personal way. The tragedy of that day, and the ones that followed, are still unthinkable, yet the museum is so tasteful. It has the “memorabilia” and personal stories of many who tell about what an “ordinary” day it was, and how that changed forever in a blink. There is a burned out fire truck and the “forks” that stand tall: symbols of strength, which now were symbols of devastation.
It is both a tribute to those lost, to those who gave of themselves selflessly, and to the business institution of the World Trade Towers. It is moving, poignant, and sobering. The 911 Museum sits in the shadow of the new One Tower, and next to the new transportation hub, a fantastic architecture of a dove of peace. It speaks to the human spirit of resiliency, sacrifice, and service. That is what gives us reason to be optimistic in the wake of horror.
Our trip, though just a day, bonded us in a new way. We worshipped together with the saints, and then, experienced our country in the wake of terrorism in a new way. It drew us together, and while I can’t say it was “fun” in every way, I can say it was deeply meaningful and every person felt it was worthwhile. I’m thankful to Bob Neff for doing this tour. It was truly a day to remember.