Today many will ask the question: “Where were you 17 years ago today at 8:46am? I was in Lake Junalusaka, North Carolina at a staff renewal retreat. I remember watching in disbelief as the TV in my hotel room showed the pictures of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers. First one at 8:46am and then the next at 9:03am and then later hearing about the attack on the Pentagon and the failed attack of the fourth plane downed because the passengers took over giving up their own lives in order to save many others. I remember feeling anger, disbelief, outrage, grief, sadness, despair, helpless. When all was said and done, the attacks killed 2,996 and injured over 6,000 in the aftermath. It was the largest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
I am not going to comment on the politics involved in this event in our nation’s history. Suffice it to say it is long and complicated. My intent for today in highlighting the events of 9/11 are to remind us to pause and take a moment to pray. Pray for the families whose lives were so terribly altered in just one morning. Pray for our first responders who continue to put their lives on the line each and every day, running into harm’s way in order to keep the rest of us safe and secure. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom to understand people who think and act differently than we do. Pray for the ability to love others, even when they are acting badly. Pray that we do not let anger and fear overcome us as individuals and also as a nation. Pray and then find ways to act.
Holy and Almighty God, Lord of Heaven and Earth, be with those who on this anniversary of a terrible event in our history, have lost friends and family. We ask for your comfort and peace as they navigate through this day, a day when even after 17 years have gone by, the events come sharply into focus. We also pray that you give to each one of us us the courage to continue to work toward restoration and reconciliation giving us the wisdom to see outside of our own perspective. We pray for your peace to settle over this world, a world you created and called into being. We pray for understanding when life becomes incomprehensible. We pray in all things for your will to be done. Amen.