Singing and praying on 9/11

Image: Lowbird

Today is a day to remember, a day to pray and, yes, a day to sing...

I offer you two texts here. The first is a hymn which you might sing to the tune of Finlandia or O God, Our Help In Ages PastThe second is a prayer I wrote for a community prayer service.

When Sudden Terror Tears Apart

When sudden terror tears apart
the world we thought was ours,

we find how fragile strength can be,

how limited our powers.

As tow’r and fortress fall, we watch

with disbelieving stare

and numbly hear the anguished cries

that pierce the ash-filled air.

Yet most of all we are aware

of emptiness and void:

of lives cut short, of structures razed,

of confidence destroyed.

From this abyss of doubt and fear

we grope for words to pray,

and hear our stammering tongues embrace

a timeless Kyrie.

Have mercy, Lord,
give strength and peace

and make our courage great;

restrain our urge to seek revenge,

to turn our hurt to hate.

Help us to know your steadfast love,

your presence near as breath;

rekindle in our hearts the hope

of life that conquers death.

By Carl P. Daw, Jr
2001 Hope Publishing Co.

Let us pray...

Gracious God,

All good gifts come from your hand,

and into our clumsy grasp

you entrust the precious realities

of life, justice and peace.

We remember this day

how fragile is the gift of peace

and how vulnerable are we
in each other’s hands.

We remember those who died

and those who mourn their loss...

We remember those whose courage

gave us a new model for bravery...

We remember those who gave their lives

in their efforts to save others...

We remember that day, that sunny morning

when the borders of our nation

were broken through
to the depths of our hearts...

We remember and we pray
for the healing and peace

that only you can give

and that we must share...

Bring us to the day, O God,

when war is but a memory
and peace our way of life...

Bring us to the day, O God,

when the harvest of justice

will nourish the people of all nations...

Hasten the advent of that day, O God

and let our pride not stand in its way...

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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