Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Prayer for September 11, from St. Andrew UCC, Sarasota, Florida

September 11, 2018



Loving God,
you delivered your ancient people from slavery and, in the fullness of time,
sent Jesus the Christ to show us the path through forgiveness to newness of life.

As we remember the events of September 11, 2001, and the time of war since,
we find ourselves caught between memories that haunt us
and the hope that comes from you.

Mere mention of the date launches a myriad of thoughts, images, and emotions.
For some the events are still very fresh, while for others there is a greater distance.
Hear us as we pray deliverance for people whose lives were affected on that day or since.

We remember the innocent victims who died that day or since
and our hearts are moved to grief.
We are mindful of broken families, orphans, co-workers and friends who grieve still.
We lift our prayers for all who grieve.

We remember the selfless women and men who bravely served as first responders,
some of whom died or were injured in the process of serving.
We thank you for them and for all who contributed toward recovery
at Ground Zero in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C.,
in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, or anywhere around the globe
where people gathered to comfort or to pray for others.
We lift our prayers for their healing, safety and well-being, for their families,
and for their civic and faith communities.

We remember the selfless women and men
who bravely serve through the Armed Forces
in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe;
we remember the sacrifices of those who have died or were wounded
in the process of serving. We thank you for them and their service.
We lift our prayers for their healing, safety and well-being,
for their families and for their civic and faith communities.

War is never an easy choice.
We as a nation are still conflicted about that decision.
Some of us believe that war is never justified,
others feel deceived,
some others believe a military response is exactly right
and some of us just don’t know.

Help us bring an end to war as we work for peace with justice
in ways that are peaceful.
Hear our prayer for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In these seventeen years, much has been done
in the name of religious zeal or patriotic fervor
that makes a mockery of your name.
Our actions have not always been the most honorable.
We have killed non-combatant civilians
and sent others fleeing from their homeland as refugees.

Deliver us from our own desire for revenge.
Deliver us from faith that fails to see your image in others,
from willing bondage to our own thoughts and desires
and from our reluctance to enter your beloved community.

We pledge allegiance to our nation, while at other times we surrender all to you.
Deliver us from fragmentary living, from divided aims and rival loyalties,
and from failure to seek and achieve wholeness in thought, word, and deed.
Teach us to remember the words of Jesus.
“Seek first the kin-dom of God and all else will be added to you.”

Deliver us from counterfeit humility, from the modesty that calls attention to itself,
from the arrogance which creates the world in our own image,
and will not bow to the authority of truth as it is revealed to us.

Deliver us from religious selfishness,
from the piety that is centered upon safety rather than service,
from seeking peace of mind instead of reconciliation with you and all people.
We lift our prayers for better understanding among all people,
especially Christian-Muslim relations.

While we cannot imagine what would cause persons
to commit such violent acts of terrorism,
we know you call us to forgive.
Move in our hearts to lead us to that place of radical generosity and love.

Teach us to remember the words of Jesus.
“Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Most of all, dear God, move us from despair to hope,
from isolation to community, from war to peace, from death to life,
grounded in our relationship with you and your people in every tribe and nation,
every kindred and tongue,
so that together we might build your beloved community on earth as it is in heaven.

Teach us to remember the words of Jesus.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself .”

To you, O God, be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever. Amen.  

Adapted from a prayer written by the Rev. Dr. Bob Gross, pastor at Lake Avenue UCC (Elyria, OH).

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