A Letter from Pastor Tim Keller

September 12, 2001

Dear Redeemer Friends,

Words fail me right now. It's really too horrible for words. Verbal efforts to express the full magnitude of what has happened seem to almost trivialize it instead. I'm glad for the opportunity to give guidance to you from the Scriptures in the services on Sunday. Meanwhile, here's what I think are the most immediate needs.

First, we should regularly meet together in prayer for one another and the whole city. The grief and shock is deep and widespread. I believe those of us who have not directly experienced the loss of a close friend are going to be surprised--I think we are going to be more deeply effected than one would predict. I also think we may be surprised at how many of us will have 'delayed reactions' of depression and despair some days or weeks after. Also, we may be surprised at the spiritual openness and need of our neighbors. So if you are part of a Redeemer group (or a ministry team) I urge you to connect with your people, your friends and your neighbors. Help them gather in apartments to read from scripture (use the Psalms I refer you to on the website), share what they have seen and heard. Pray, sing hymns, and let the grief and fear be expressed in Christ's presence. Let everyone tell their stories. Make a note of what people say and pray accordingly.

Second, we should be available to provide practical help as much as possible. If you need help or know of someone in need of help coping with this tragedy, Redeemer's website front page has a list of contact numbers that can connect you to someone who can assist you. The website is http://www.redeemer.com We will be using this front page of our website to post any new or special information for the next few days, so please continue to check back to the site for updates.

As well as being able to connect you with a list of people you can talk to, this page also has a sermon that I preached in 1996 from the Gospel of John (which you can listen to on the website) relating to coping with suffering and death. Also on the page there are brief notes outlining the content of this sermon, some thoughts relating to this tragedy, and a recommended list of Psalms to help you pray during this time of loss and frustration.

Please take the time to forward this e-mail to anyone you believe needs help or would find this useful in helping others, and use any of these resources to help others heal the wounds that run so deep and are in need of the loving care of Christ to heal them.

In Him,

Tim Keller