A Pastoral Prayer
September 11, 2016
O God of grace and peace,
On this fifteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
We remember an atrocious day, a day that we wish we could forget.
Our grief still lingers, but our faith still hopes.
We confess our ongoing need of your transformative and emerging grace
For we are all too mindful that this date still grieves us
With emotions that are unsettling
And with memories that stir our fears.
As we attempt to apply your words to life,
And to live by faith as we embrace your promise of a better future
We confess that our anger and grief from that fateful day are not nearly resolved.
And that we still harbor impulses of hate and retaliation deep within.
And yet we acknowledge that our hurt does not compare to the pain
of those who were touched more directly
through the unexpected and unfair loss
of family members, friends, and colleagues.
We shudder at the memory of horrific images of death and destruction,
We grieve over the deaths of the sons and daughters of our nation,
As well as the subsequent casualties among our allies and our adversaries.
We fret over the ongoing threat of terrorist initiatives
And we long for a civilized and lasting resolution
So that all may live in peace
And that those who have longed for liberation from tyranny
Might govern and be governed with dignity and integrity.
Rather than being consumed by our grief,
And controlled by our fears
And constrained by our anxieties,
Let us set our minds to addressing any injustices that precipitate hostility,
Let us direct our souls to living out our moral conviction,
Let us turn our hearts to loving the poor,
and the disadvantaged,
and the disenfranchised.
And let us determine to fight terror,
Not with our own terroristic threats,
But with a responsible and courageous exercise of freedom,
And with a proactive and missional faith
That addresses the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of humankind,
Especially the underprivileged and the underserved.
And though it runs counter to our deepest instincts,
You continue to teach us to love our enemies,
so that we do not become like them.
Today, especially today,
We pray for the leaders of our nation and our world
And for the leaders of our state and our community
To act and react with wisdom and discernment,
And to maintain a disposition that will defuse conflict
And advance the cause of peace.
And we pray for the leaders of our churches and synagogues
And for people of diverse faiths
To act and react with transformative grace and eternal hope,
And to maintain a disposition that will dispel propaganda
And advance the cause of truth and compassion.
We offer our prayer in the strong name of the One who came to bring peace on earth and goodwill to all humankind. Amen