Summary: A prayer, rather than a sermon, that somehow seemed more fitting as a message for these days of brokenness and united sorrow.
A prayer in the wake of tragedy of September 11th, 2001
O God our help in ages past,
We did not choose this time, this moment. Like generations before us we have lived in safety and ease, and have read of those beyond living memory who were awakened by the clarion call of a nation under attack. We did not choose this time, this place in the pages of history that will be remembered long after we are forgotten names etched in granite. Like those who faced the brutality of fascism, the tragedy of civil war, or the terrible struggle for independence, we feel unprepared, unworthy, and uncertain.
Thank you, Father. For our certainties were illusions, our security was imagined, and our self-sufficiency was a seductive lie. In You, and You alone rest the rising of tomorrow’s sun, and whether our eyes will awaken to see that dawn. On You, and You alone, rest the protection of our homes, the guarding of our shores, and hope for our children’s future. Thank you that fear can lead to faith, that uncertainty can bend our knees toward the everlasting certainty of Your Presence, and that our unimaginable sorrow, and the breaking of our very hearts, can open the door for the coming of the Comforter.
Father, we acknowledge that you are no respecter of nations. You are not contained with only one border. You do not speak only one language. All the scattered sons of Adam and daughters of Eve are the equal goal of your redeeming love. We pray for all to whom these tragic days have brought or will bring pain and sorrow and death.
Yet, we also recognize that you have ordained civil government so that justice might be performed within the world, and that this authority does not bear the sword in vain. And we have come to see, with fearful certainty, that there are evils within the world so grievous that any nation will be united in terrible outrage. Like one watching the battering of a child by a bully, we accept that there are moments when anger is an expression of morality, and the lack of anger would be the attribute of a monster. In humility and fear, then, we see the awakening of the American people. As if from a long and lazy slumber, a giant stirs to waking. When we anticipate the terrible power of this republic, aroused and outraged, we pray for wisdom, discernment, and courage in our leaders, and we pray for Your protection for the men and women who will be drawn into harm’s way.
Kyrie, eleison, Lord, have mercy. We did not choose this moment. We hear, in rows of white crosses, voices long silent asking if we, like them, will endure even to the last full measure of our devotion. Will we stand against the foe? Will we bend our knees toward heaven? Will we set aside the toys of children and take up the mantle of sacrifice?
Only with You, only in You, only from You, can we meet the morning’s dawn. Only with You, only in You, and only from You can we find certain hope and unbounded faith. We did not choose this moment, Father. But we did choose You, our Lord and our God. And in that choice, God Eternal Ever-present, let the challenge of this moment be met. Let the morning come. Let the world pass away. We remain in the palms of Your hands.
Dr. Tom Lawson
Kentucky Christian College