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By Lynn and Bob Gillen

Links for Learners | September 2002

"September 11 in Manhattan: Finding My Son Alive"

Q U I C K S C A N

Finding Curriculum Connections
Understanding Basic Terms
One Parent's Loving Story
The Gospel Story of God's Love
Our Stories as Sisters and Brothers
Related Resources
Research Resources


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Links for Learning

Finding Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students

This month’s Links for Learners will support high school curriculum in:

• Christian lifestyles—Family love; the gospel story

Understanding Basic Terms in This Month’s Article

Look for these key words and terms as you read the article.  Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article itself, or from the resource materials cited throughout the Link for Learners. 

9/11 terror attacks

Father

Life/death/rising

Holy Land

Transformation

Emmaus

Presence of Christ

Brother

Conversion

Children of God

One Parent's Loving Story

Thousands of stories emerged from the tragic events of 9/11. This month we read a deeply touching story of one father's search for his son following the attack on the World Trade Center. Gerard Baumbach walked the streets of lower Manhattan looking for his son Dan. Fearing the worst, yet supported by love and faith, he prayed and searched until he was reunited with Dan outside a New York hospital.

As you read the story, focus on what must have been in Gerard Baumbach's heart that desperate morning. Can you feel his dread and fear not knowing if his son were dead or alive? Can you identify with Dan's ordeal, struggling to escape the disaster, then trying to reach his family? What did Dan's mom and girlfriend feel waiting at home for news?

Further in his story, Gerard Baumbach describes the "Emmaus walk" he shared with Dan as they trudged uptown looking for a train to take them home. During this walk, he realized that father and son had become brothers after sharing the 9/11 experience. Talking about the incident brought meaning to all that had happened to them. Later, he was moved to write about his story, to share it with others.

Share your thoughts with one another, spending just enough time on this to understand the highlights of the story.

 

The Gospel Story of God's Love

Now let's look at another story, the gospel story of Jesus and his Father. You've listened to parts of this story many times in church, in sermons, and in prayer services. Focus now on the gospel as a story.

We suggest reading Luke's Gospel. It's not necessary to read through the entire Gospel. Read enough to capture the heart of Luke's message. See the Gospel as a story with characters and emotions. Jesus' life story is a passage to us and back to his Father—a living, dying and rising.

  • Check out chapters one and two. The writer Luke sets up a narrative, based on eyewitness accounts. Elizabeth gives birth to John, who will preach the coming of Jesus. Mary accepts the angel's message in faith and Jesus is born. By the time he's 12 years old, he's already at home in the temple.

  • By chapter three John has pointed to Jesus as savior. Jesus begins his ministry when he's about 30. As he preaches and heals the sick, some believe in him and others question his authority. In chapter nine, Jesus authorizes his disciples to preach and heal. But Herod, the Roman leader, is growing anxious about this man Jesus.

  • Chapter 11 finds Jesus teaching his followers to pray the Lord's prayer to the Father. (This is just how Todd Beamer prayed before heroically preventing the fourth group of terrorists from using their plane for more destruction on 9/11.) In chapter 13 we find the Pharisees and other religious leaders growing increasingly indignant with Jesus. Opposition to him increases in chapter 20.

  • Read the last three chapters carefully. Again, see it as a story. When it comes time to celebrate Passover, Jesus knows his death is imminent. All night he prays in agony, until he is arrested, betrayed by one of his own. He is condemned to death, mocked and beaten, then suffers a violent death while his mother looks on helplessly. But the Father raises Jesus back to life, good triumphing over sin.

  • In Luke 24:13-35, some of Jesus' followers come upon a stranger while walking to the town of Emmaus. Not realizing the stranger is Jesus, they voice their concerns over what has happened, only to have him open their hearts to the meaning of it all. Later, with the help of the Spirit, they shared their story with the world.

  •  

    Our Stories as Sisters and Brothers

    Gerard Baumbach and his son Dan shared a living/dying/rising experience in the midst of the 9/11 tragedy. Their Christian faith helped them realize the parallels between their own experience and the living/dying/rising of Jesus. Since 9/11 others have shared their thoughts on the events, helping us to see meaning in the tragedy.

    At a memorial service shortly after the 9/11 tragedy, Rabbi Marc Gellman told a story of how a single stick can be snapped easily, but a bundle of sticks will not break. We are those sticks, he said, and if we bond together no one can break us. And further, all the people we come in contact with during our daily lives are the "sticks" in our bundle. Rabbi Gellman, part of Good Morning America's God Squad, reminds us that we are all sisters and brothers trying to stay bundled in a common bond of community and love.

    Christians believe that Jesus repeats his living/dying/rising in each one of us as we work our way back to our Father. Do you have your own story to share? Have you experienced a kind of living/dying/rising, whether a dramatic event or a gradual realization, that has brought you closer to your family or friends?

    · Losing a parent or a close friend
    · Struggling with alcohol or substance abuse
    · Recovering as a victim of violent crime
    · Suffering a serious illness or disabling accident

    Can you share the realizations with your group or class? What happened between you and someone who loves you? Was there an "Emmaus walk" for you? What helped you find meaning in what you experienced?

    Thankfully we don't all experience what some have endured. Yet we can all learn from our own experiences, however minor they may seem at the moment.

    · A parent's anger over ignored curfews
    · Annoyance at a teacher challenging us to do our best
    · Facing ourselves honestly while on retreat
    · Refusing to let a parent love us

    With an open heart we can see the "Emmaus walks" in our lives, the moments when we wake up to a new realization of who we are, the moments when it hits us that Jesus was walking along with us. For the disciples in Luke's Gospel, it was in the breaking of the bread that they understood. For Gerard Baumbach it was the talk with his son as they worked their way home. For you, it could be anything, if you're open to see it.

     

    Related Resources

    Three-part video series on father-son relationships, available as a free rental to schools from Freemedia.org.

    Weekly e-newsletter from the National Center for Fathering.

    Take the Reins: A Father Teaches His Son about Life, Commitment and Spirituality, by John L. Moore, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997.

     

    Research Resources

    Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further general reference.  Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles contained within the site’s archives.

    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

    The New American Bible

    Documents of Vatican II 

    The Vatican

    The New York Times

    The Los Angeles Times

    The Chicago Tribune

    The Washington Post

    The Miami Herald

    The Associated Press

    Time Magazine

    CNN

    MSNBC

    ABC News

    Pathfinder—Access site to a number of online news publications

    People magazine

    The History Channel

    The Close Up FoundationWashington, D.C.-based organization

    Channel One —online resource for the school channel


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