Today is the 15th anniversary of September 11th. I can remember the day like it was yesterday, but I know it is fading into history despite the efforts of many to #NeverForget.
“Remember Those Whose Ashes Lie In The Chapel Garden”
Over the past 15 years, the disbelief at the unfolding horrors of September 11 has given way to an understanding that we are vulnerable to acts of terrorism and random acts of violence, no matter where we are.
Prayers On September 11
Whenever there is an attack, I turn to the Psalm that spoke to me on September 11, 2011, Psalm 37:
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
* * * * *
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret–it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
* * * * *
The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
* * * * *
Today, I cling to these words when hatred and xenophobia are offered as “solutions” to the problem of terrorism. These words tell me that our instinctive reactions to evil may bring more evil. Instead of responding with revenge, we need to trust in God, even when it seems like the “bad guys” are winning.
Praying In The Chapel Garden
Last weekend as I finished my neighborhood run, I decided to visit the Chapel Garden at the Seminary. The 1881 chapel burned down a few years ago, and the site was restored and consecrated as a garden. (Thankfully no one was hurt during the blaze, which reportedly was caused by improperly extinguished altar candles.)
Entering the Chapel Garden
The outer “walls” of the garden are from the chapel, and an altar table and cross sit where they would have been when the chapel was in use.
The Chapel Garden
It’s a moving place for prayer and contemplation, and a physical manifestation of the transformative power of God to bring beauty out of ruin.
Today, I remember those who sacrificed their lives on September 11. I pray for their family members and friends, who don’t have the luxury of forgetting. And I offer this prayer “for the Human Family” from the Book of Common Prayer:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son:
Look with compassion on the whole human family;
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts;
break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love;
and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth;
that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.