Monday, September 11, 2006

9.11

the Gen X-er in me balks at the maudlin regularity of the tributes, memorials and such but here's a devotion i found in my inbox this morning from my pastor:

Devotions: Monday, September 11, 2006
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. For

“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (nrsv)

Reflection
Each one of us, I know, will find ourselves reflecting, pondering, wondering, praying today on this anniversary of 9/11. Our faith, our church, our precious traditions have sustained us these past five years. They have continued to deepen our understanding and show us how God is present in every circumstance, even dreadful events, with creative and life-giving love.

Our mothers and fathers in the faith, in the early Christian church, lived with the constant threat of persecution, imprisonment, death. Letters circulated among those separate tiny communities, extending love, encouragement, and hope. The words might have been written to us on September 11: “Have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing.”

As we continue to struggle with how best to respond to what happened to us, may those of us who have staked our lives on One who was and is “light shining in darkness” remember our vocation: to show the world something of God’s purposes--“unity, sympathy, love, tenderness, humility, blessing.”

Prayer
Dear God, I bring to you all that is in my heart today: all the anguish and anger, all the fear, all the love for my country and my hope for the future. I commend to your eternal love all the victims and to your care their families and friends. I pray for our leaders, for the women and men of our armed forces, and for all the people of the world. I pray for peace: the peace of the world, peace in my nation, and peace in my heart. O God, help me this day to know and to demonstrate something of your presence, your love and your intent for a world characterized by sympathy, tenderness, humility, and blessing. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Written by John Buchanan, Pastor

2 comments:

greg said...

I agree with all of this, and find it beautiful, but....

Where are the prayers for the Islamists? For the suicide bombers? For the Imams who preach hatred and war? Matthew 5:43-47 reads: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Ultimately, it is our enemies whom we most need to see reconnected to God, and by failing to pray for them we make ourselves no better than they are. And don't get me wrong - I find these people utterly reprehesible. But I believe that in this passage is the key to how to deal with the Islamists. There is no comfort in these words, but there may be hope.

Molly Malone said...

I loved the devotion. I too, though, agree with Greg. The only thing missing was a prayer for our enemies. That aside, when I read the devotion, I felt like I was praying along with the spirit of it.

Thank you so much for sharing that!