Have you ever wondered why some events stick in your memory more vividly than others? If you're like me, there are a handful of events from your lifetime that will always be burned into your memory; events that bring back vivid images in your mind of where you were and what you were doing at that moment in time. Some of you may remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news about the attack on Pearl Harbor or news about the dropping of the atom bombs and the end of the war.
I can still picture myself sitting at my 7th grade desk in my one-room country school and being stunned and shaken as Mrs. Jackson, ashen faced and fighting back tears informed us of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, I was glued to a TV at a motel in Estes Park, Colorado on vacation with a high school buddy prior to starting my freshman year at the University of Nebraska.
It was a sunny but crisp cold January day in Cleveland, Ohio when, on my way to lunch, I tuned in the car radio and heard the news of the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger for the first time.
On September 11, 2001, I had just returned to my office after the morning meeting at U.S. Steel to find my coworkers talking about planes hitting skyscrapers in New York City. Someone managed to scrounge up an old portable black and white TV, and we watched in horror as the buildings came crashing down, unable to tear ourselves away.
But for now, quiet your mind, put the cares and demands of the day aside for a moment, and try to imagine that you're hearing for the first time the news that a young man has been brutally killed by a flash mob in a Middle Eastern city. Further, it seems like this young man had been using his twitter account to promote his radical ideas, his ideas that the most important things in life were to love your God, and to love your neighbor as much as your love yourself. He had done miraculous work at free clinics in slums and in refugee camps, and had started to develop quite a following on social media with a GoFundMe account. But his latest tweets spoke of corruption among the local civil and religious authorities, who were not pleased. Details of his death were still being withheld, but a video clip of his death had gone viral on social media and the authorities were imposing a curfew and calling for calm.
So if I asked you next week, or next month, or next year, would you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard this news? What would make you stop and think, and remember?
Would it make a difference if instead of a Middle Eastern city, it had all happened in Chicago, or Valparaiso?
May God bless you as you ponder the events of your week...