Terror in the Skies
Today people around the world remember the death that fell from the skies over New York, Arlington, and Shanksville 12 years ago. May we also remember the innocent victims of our nation's violent acts from the skies—A-bombs over Japan in 1945, repeated drone attacks over Pakistan this year, the air strikes that our government is threatening to execute over Syria this very week.
A group of diverse faith leaders shared prayers two years ago in New York, to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. You'll find a handful of them below. Let us pray and re-pray these words, begging God to plant peace and neighbor love in our hearts and to root our fear and violence.
From Rabbi Laura Geller:
The … anniversary of 9/11 falls during Elul, the month of preparation for the New Year. Our work is chesbon ha nefesh, an accounting of the soul, as individuals and as a community. Where have we been? Where are we now? What is the vision of the future we long to create? We hear the sounds of the shofar, the ram's horn. May these sounds remind us of those whose lives were lost, and bring comfort to those who loved them. May these sounds challenge us to ask what we have done over these years to bring healing to our world. May these sounds empower us to work together for peace.
From Fr. Richard Rohr:
"It is not those who say, 'Lord, Lord!' who will enter the reign of God, but those who do God's will." (Matthew 7:21)
God of all races, nations, and religions,
You know that we cannot change others,
nor can we change the past.
But we can change ourselves.
We can join You in changing our only
and common future where you 'reign'
the same over all.
Help us not to say, "Lord, Lord" to any tribal gods,
but to hear the One God of all the earth,
and to do God's good thing for this One World.
From Rabbi David Wolpe:
Dear God, how do we pray for what was lost? We cannot pray for deliverance or a miracle, for the tragedy has already burned itself into our souls. Children have grown fatherless. Families are long since bereaved. We know there is no prayer to change the past.
So we pray to live with memory, with constant love, with the promise both to combat evil and to cherish goodness. Do not let our pain cloud our hopes or crush our hearts. Help us grow through this tragedy, keep faith with its victims, and sustain our trust in You.
From Rev. Joel Hunter:
Lord, we remember the old hymn, "O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home."
In these days, help us return not only to our hurt but to Your help, and let us go on to help others because of what we have been through together.
O God of resurrection, from the destruction of precious lives and presumed security, bring forth faith, hope, and courage. From safety weapons cannot offer, let us find security in Your arms.
And let us follow You all the way Home.
From Imam Abdullah Antepli:
God of all nations, look with favor upon this great nation as we remember the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11 in its 10th anniversary. Be our source of strength, healing and comfort as our wounds still bleed.
God of wisdom and compassion, You create eventual blessings out of every kind of evil. Make us instruments and agents of such creation as we strive to turn the post-9/11 challenges into opportunities and blessings for others and ourselves.
God of mercy and grace, we bring up the immediate victims and their loved ones of these heinous acts into your attention. Be their light in these moments of darkness and difficulty.
God of hope and glory, do not let our hopes overcome by our fears. Do not let our souls crippled by despair. Be our source of hope and guidance in these times of sorrow and mourning.
Oh God, if we forget You. Do not forget us.
In your most Holy and Beautiful names we pray. Amen.