You may not recognise the name of Albert Ogletree, but his is one of the 2,983 names on the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Centre in New York. He was working in the North Tower cafeteria when the first plane hit the building. Sadly his photograph has been one of two missing from the walls of the 9/11 “In Memoriam” exhibition ever since it opened nearly 8 years ago.
But thanks to the efforts of Grant Llera, a worker at the 9/11 Museum, a picture of Albert has been finally tracked down, and has been placed on the wall. Although there were nearly 3,000 victims, not one is forgotten. A quotation by Virgil is displayed in large steel letters at the museum; it reads:
“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”Virgil
The same is true of the brave citizens of Ukraine, who will always be remembered, collectively and individually, for their dignified endurance throughout this terrible ordeal. Two thousand years ago, Jesus publicly wept for the people of Jerusalem, knowing ahead of time the destruction that would be wreaked on that city by the Romans. Similarly today, when we see the pictures of Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine, the destruction of Mariupol and the millions of women and children fleeing for their lives, we too are distressed by this tragic example of man’s inhumanity to man, and our hearts go out to those whose lives have been shattered by this awful conflict.
Like Albert Ogletree, the people of Ukraine and even we ourselves are all an important part of this world’s history, and without us the world would be a poorer place. When we look at ourselves we probably don’t comprehend how valuable we really are. Yet each of us were part of God’s plan from the beginning. He knows each of us personally, even those who don’t know Him yet. As an ancient king once wrote:
“You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvellous! Of this I have no doubt … Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.”Psalm 139:13-14, 16 (GNT, CEV)
Hundreds of years later, Jesus himself illustrated His loving care for each one of us by pointing to some sparrows:
“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. … So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”Matthew 10:29, 31.
We may live in a hurting, broken world, but let’s never forget that we are individually loved by God, and that He’s only a prayer away.
A PRAYER FOR UKRAINE
Heavenly Father, we ask that you will have mercy on the people of Ukraine. We pray that you will protect the innocent, heal the injured and comfort the bereaved. Lord Jesus, You are the One who said “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and called us to love our neighbours. We pray for peace, asking that you will open humanitarian corridors, that supplies will get through, the attacks will stop and the guns will fall silent. Thank you God. Amen.