Sunday, September 11, 2011

Worship and September 11

The lectionary readings for today are full of themes of forgiveness, a theme which seems quite relevant given the historical events of the day:  the planes turned into weapons in 2001, the Chilean coup in 1973.  Have we forgiven Henry Kissinger?  Have we forgiven Osama Bin Laden?

I'm hoping that in worship services across the country, we will be reminded of the need to forgive--not just once, but countless times.

I'm hoping that we don't sing too many songs that focus on the nation.  I'm like Woody Guthrie:  I hate the song "God Bless America."  I remember expressing my frustration to my mom back in 2001 because the church I was in sang it every Sunday.  She suggested "God Bless Our Native Lands."  I wanted to sing "This Land Is Your Land," Guthrie's song in response to "God Bless America."

It would be easy to sink into sorrow on a day like today.  For those of us who will worship in a Christian community, I'm hoping we will focus on the promise of Jesus:  that death will not be the final answer.

I'm hoping that worship services don't focus too much on issues of evil today.  No talk of Satan, please.  I think we're all aware of the force of evil in the world.  Let us focus on the message of hope, the hope that although evil may win the day, evil will not win the war.

I have been dreading this day for 10 years.  I suppose I'm grateful that it falls on a Sunday.  I'm grateful that I will be in a church with a pastor who has spent considerable time crafting a liturgy for this day.

It is a good day to pray, even if we're not part of a worshipping community.   We can pray for softened hearts.  We can pray for those struggling with horrific memories and struggling with loss.  We can ask for an expanded capacity to forgive.  We can ask God for grace and healing in a world fractured by violence and other forms of brokenness.

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