Share Something Sundays – 9/11 Edition (How did your church handle this day?)

Share Something Sundays – 9/11 Edition (How did your church handle this day?) September 11, 2011

This week I want to invite you to share something.

Share about 9/11.

Share about how your church handled the issue. Was it too nationalistic? Did the cross and the sword seem too close together? Maybe your church had a “peace focus.” What was that like?

Share about your personal thoughts on peace and justice in a world of terrorism.

If you haven’t read my thoughts on this, here are my two articles on the subject:

  1. God’s Middle Finger – When the Divine Says “Up Yours”
  2. The New “War” on Terror: 9/11 and Jesus’ Approach to Enemies of the State

Share something about 9/11 and the way of Jesus!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I have been having all sorts of mixed feelings about the church I go to lately and wasn’t at all sure if I wanted to go on 9/11.  I knew there would be prayer for the US read that I wasn’t sure I wanted to say….so I sat in the way back and prayed for most of the service for God to humble my heart.  The sermon was how we are not exempt from suffering and I was pleased and surprised that the pastor admonished the church that our trust and faith is to be in Christ not in an idolatrized nationalism.  So in the end I was glad to have gone and remembered that part of being a church is to be in this together wherever we are. 

    • Lou

      I am a chalice bearer and leader at my local Episcopal church. I do not agree with much of the teachings of the episcopal tradition yet i do not feel that God has called me out. I had a hard time today, especially singing “God bless america” at the end of our service. I am praying and asking God to help me with this- I don’t even believe the church should have a flag, let alone worship America in song. I cannot force myself to believe that what we , as a nation, have done in the name of vengeance is anything that Jesus would approve of. Very difficult for me to reconcile…..

  • Tucker M Russell

    This was a difficult Sunday for me.  My church’s tradition is to do a big “back to Sunday School” celebration on the second Sunday in September every year.  It was pure coincidence that this year it fell on the 11th.  I suggested we push the celebration back to next week, but the rest of the staff thought it was important to send the message that life and celebration go on after tragedy.  So we addressed 9/11 in worship and in the sermon, but still had the regular annual celebration afterward.  Still not sure how I feel about it. 

  • Ernie Marton

    Politically, and hard to get into.  We almost walked out during the pastoral prayer with the national anthem being played in the background.  Prayers said for the US while I kept asking what about the others, etc. etc.   Sermon on “heroes”  still wondering what the point was,  BUT, it was good to see people I am on this journey with and hug them.  

  • Ian

    I was a little worried about how my pastor would handle it but I think he did pretty good. We didn’t sing any patriotic songs during worship which was relieving. There was a video tagged onto the end of the weekly video announcement which had the line “On 9/11 we learned…” at the top and under it would read things like “that evil is real.” “that hate is destructive.” and then changed to a more uplifting tone that read things like “heroes are real.” “courage is lasting.” He then said a few things and then prayed for the victims and firefighters and policemen and their families, servicemen and women and their families, and for the Muslim people of the middle east. After that he moved on to the message that he had planned as a part of the series we’re in.

  • I was the guest preacher at a church I had never attended (but knew about 5 or 6 folks at). I preached from Luke 24 (off lectionary for the morning) and talked about how traumatic events effect us and how we can use our Christian lens to reframe our story into one that includes all who have been hurt or experience traumatic events. There was a lot of patriotic music, but the vacationing pastor included litanies and a few songs that were dedicated to love and peace. My sermon is posted at

  • Justin David Hebert

    I took a few “pre-emptive” measures at my church and volunteered for our opening Welcome/Announcements and Call to Worship.  I reflected, during the prayer, the difficulty in loving one’s enemies, especially on a day like today, and the Bible’s clarity on this subject.  Our singing was great – as one of our worship planners, I made sure to help guide our team toward songs that uplifted God’s Sovereignty and glory, especially amidst suffering.  We have a segment called Prayers of the People that was led by someone who was of a different mind, and prayed for nearly every level of America’s government and leadership, but our time of singing was so heartfelt and glorious that I didn’t care.  I praise God that on a Sunday like this, my church was able to truly praise God without distraction.

  • (Cross posted at

    I knew I had to go to church yesterday, but the question was “where?” I like my new home parish—particularly the music ministry, which I plan to get involved in once I’ve had a full year to settle in. My only complaint is the director’s fondness for patriotic music on national holidays. I don’t like patriotic music in church. I think it blurs the line between the kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of God—but I can put up with a little now and then in return for the beautiful music programmed the rest of the year. Yesterday was different, though. I knew I could’t handle hearing America the Beautiful (the usual closing hymn on holidays) much less The Star Spangled Banner (the usual organ postlude). So instead I attended Mass at the Carmelite Chapel just outside of town.

    The Carmel celebrates Mass most Sundays at 7:30 AM. The nuns sit apart from the rest of the congregation, but can see the altar—which is turned at a 45 degree angle in order to be visible from both outside and inside the cloister. The sisters usually sing a couple of hymns plus the psalm and propers, but yesterday there was no music. I prefer sung masses in general (when the music is good anyway) but in this case the absence of music provided more room for silence—an appropriate choice for the day.

    The readings were taken from the Lectionary, but, due to a fortuitous alignment of the church and secular calendars, were also appropriate for the day:

    Sirach 27:30-28:7 (“Forgive your neighbors’ injustice, then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven”)
    Psalm 103: 1-4, 9-12 (“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put his transgressions from us.”)
    Romans 14:7-9 (“Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s”)
    Matthew 18:21-35 (“I say to you (forgive) not seven times but seventy-seven times.”)

    The priest’s homily focused on forgiveness, and he did an excellent job tying the readings to the anniversary. He talked about how forgiveness doesn’t preclude justice (stepping beyond the readings to use the words of the “repentant thief” in Luke as an illustration) and then contrasted forgiveness, which is unilateral, with reconciliation, which is relational. He then talked about how forgiveness opens up the possibility of reconciliation and how God wants us to be reconciled to him and each other through Christ. It was short, to the point, and sensitive to the occasion.

    Prayers were then offered on behalf of the victims of 9/11, for those who have died in the Iraq and Afghan wars, and for peace in the world. The perfect choice of petitions for the day.

    The combination of the peaceful setting, the quiet liturgy, the readings, homily, and prayers conveyed a sublime sense of God’s grace that reached its fullness in the Eucharistic Prayer. We said the Our Father together—asking to be forgiven as we forgive others—and as I stood and walked up front to receive, I felt both forgiven by and reconciled with God.

    I spent the rest of the day with my family, and I told my wife and daughter I loved them every chance I got. It was the best way to spend this difficult anniversary that I could have imagined.