Thoughts and Prayers on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
Every Sunday I post a prayer on this blog, and today at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 it is no different. Though Mayor Bloomberg decided not to have any religious representation at the 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York City, it is certainly a time for prayer. And for me there is no better prayer to pray than one that is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, which I will share in a moment.
First, I wanted to share some pictures of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, which is opening up for the victims of 9/11 today, and the general public tomorrow, September 12th. You need to reserve a visitors pass to go to the memorial. You can find out all you need to know at the 9/11 Memorial website. We ought to grieve with those who grieve.
Below, I have a video of the memorial, followed by an important prayer. But let’s reflect on these meaningful words from Will Willimon in Christianity Today, because we need to remember that we are resident aliens, who are called to seek first God’s kingdom.
“On 9/11 I thought, For the most powerful, militarized nation in the world also to think of itself as an innocent victim is deadly. It was a rare prophetic moment for me, considering Presidents Bush and Obama have spent billions asking the military to rectify the crime of a small band of lawless individuals, destroying a couple of nations who had little to do with it, in the costliest, longest series of wars in the history of the United States.
The silence of most Christians and the giddy enthusiasm of a few, as well as the ubiquity of flags and patriotic extravaganzas in allegedly evangelical churches, says to me that American Christians may look back upon our response to 9/11 as our greatest Christological defeat. It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid. All of us preachers share the shame; when our people felt very vulnerable, they reached for the flag, not the Cross.
September 11 has changed me. I’m going to preach as never before about Christ crucified as the answer to the question of what’s wrong with the world. I have also resolved to relentlessly reiterate from the pulpit that the worst day in history was not a Tuesday in New York, but a Friday in Jerusalem when a consortium of clergy and politicians colluded to run the world on our own terms by crucifying God’s own Son.”
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.