A Liturgy for Sept. 11 (Prayers of the People and a Litany of the Dead)

The 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is Tuesday, and for those remembering that day, I wanted to offer a few prayers I wrote last year, as well as a visual prayer meditation. I hope you will find them challenging, moving and meaningful.

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The Prayers 

Today, we pray with the remembrance of tragedy in our minds, with sorrow in our hearts, with longing in our souls. Together, let us pray for the victims of terrorism, war and violence everywhere.

In your great mercy, Grant them the peace that the world has denied them.

For the men and women who answered their nations’ calls to serve:

For soldiers, firefighters, police officers and all public servants, Protect them by your grace and bring them whole, out of harms’ way, into the safety of warm homes.

For the innocent lives caught in the crossfire, who have died, been maimed and lost both home and homeland.

For those that mourn, weep and live in fear amidst wars they do night fight, grant them comfort from sadness, protection in danger and the relief of daily bread and basic necessities of human life as they rebuild their lives.

For the families and individuals broken by the physical and psychological effects war, violence and terrorism

For those suffering from long separation, fragmented relationships, missing limbs and mental illness, grant them the strength and aid they need to be complete, at peace and restored to life.

For the children who have been made orphans, the women who have been made widows, the men who have been made widowers and the parents who have buried children.

For those that weep this day and forever for their departed loved ones, transform mourning into dancing and surround them with a great cloud of witnesses for comfort and support.

For the young who have never known a time when America was not at war, with them or with others.

For those taught to fragment the human family into categories of “us” and “them,” for those raised to justify animosity towards others by believing that God hates those that would harm them or disagree with them, have mercy on them through the revelation of your divine, all-encompassing love.

For all the men, women and children who have lost the ability to forgive.

For “us” and “them” in every war, teach all, as you have commanded, to forgive seventy times seven, even those that would cause us and our loved ones harm.

O God, who made us in your image, who comforts and weeps with us, create in us holy spirits that respond to pain with compassion, enlarge our hearts so that we may weave hope from the torn fabric of tragedies, grant us strength and courage to offer forgiveness to all as you have so graciously forgiven us. In our pain, may we not forge swords, but ploughshares. In tragedy, may we not despair, but, through your Spirit, create good news, hope and peace for a broken world. In the name of your son, our Savior, who has commanded us to forgive in the infinity of his love for us. Amen.

A Litany for the Dead

For the 3,000 innocent victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: for the passengers on  American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the North World Trade Center Tower, on United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the South World Trade CenterTower, on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, and on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field, and for all those who died in the cataclysmic destruction wrought by the attacks.

Let your perpetual light shine upon them and bring them into your eternal rest so that we may feast with them at your eternal banquet table.

For the 19 hijackers who commandeered the four airplanes and turned them into instruments of hate and destruction, for Mohamed Atta, Waleed al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri, Abdulaziz al-Omari, Satam al-Suqami, Marwan al-Shehhi, Fayez Banihammad, Mohand al-Shehri, Ahmed-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Hani Hanjour, Khalid al-Mihdhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaf al-Hazmi, Salem al-Hazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Ahmed al-Nami and Saeed al-Ghamdi.

Forgive them, as you have forgiven us, seventy times seven and bring them into your eternal rest so that we may feast with them at your eternal banquet table.

For the firefighters, police officers, chaplains and military personnel who have fought and died protecting others, especially (include names of those known by the congregation and their families):

Let your perpetual light shine upon them and bring them into your eternal rest so that we may feast with them at your eternal banquet table.

For the members of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks, who seek to harm others and repress the human spirit. We pray for the repose of the soul of Osama bin Laden.

Forgive them, as you have forgiven us, seventy times seven and bring them into your eternal rest so that we may feast with them at your eternal banquet table.

 

About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He is a father of two young sons and the husband of a medical school student.

  • http://twitter.com/vogelbeere Yvonne Aburrow

    Amen.


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