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9/11

 Excerpt  from President George W.  Bush’s Remarks at National Day of Prayer and  Remembrance, at the National Cathedral, September 14th,  2001

Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed, and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there is a searching, and an honesty. At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Tuesday, a woman said, “I prayed to God to give us a sign that He is still here.” Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing.

God’s signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that his purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard, and understood.
There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers, that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn. 

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9/11

Jesus of the Scars by Edward Shillito

Edward Shillito was an English minister who survived the horrors of artillery, machine guns, and trench warfare during World War I.

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow;
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.

If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know today what wounds are; have no fear;
Show us Thy Scars; we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

Collect of the Day

Most merciful Father, with compassion You hear the cries of Your people in great distress.  Be with all who now endure affliction and calamity, bless the work of those who bring rescue and relief, and enable us to aid and comfort those who are suffering that they may find renewed hope and purpose: through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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The televised images of 9/11 are etched on the memories of those who watched the events of that day.  One of the images was  firemen going into the twin towers to fight the fire and save those trapped and lost.

Every disaster has clips of those looking high and low for those in the rubble in hope of life.

In movie “The Rite Stuff” about the original Mercury 7 astronauts who were all either Air Force or Navy jet pilots.  One of wives reminisces about going home to New York City.  Her friends talked about their husbands working on Wall Street, Madison Avenue, “…and places like that” and how it was a dog eat dog world and so cut throat.  “Dog eat dog…cut throat..I wonder…”, the tired pilot’s wife said, “…what they would say if they were told that their husbands had a 1 out 3 chance of not leaving that boardroom alive.”

The NYC firemen were killed in the service of their vocations.  This is  a sure testimony to faithfulness in serving our neighbors in a man’s vocation, to find and save even one who is  perishing. It is humbling.

Jesus spoke about the Kingdom a lot.  One time He said it is like  a shepherd who has 100 sheep and loses one, leaves the 99 upon the mountains in search of the 1 lost sheep.  Against all odds.  A losing proposition. In the parable, we are not told the length of time: a hour, hours…into the dark night?  He finds it!  He brings the lost sheep home upon the shoulders.

So many times we think of the pictures of Jesus carrying lamb on His shoulders.  In the parable, it was not a lamb.  It was a full-grown sheep weighing a few hundred pounds.  Like a firemen carrying a fully grown man out of burning building.  Rejoice! There is more rejoicing in heaven over one who repents than 99 who do not.

Jesus went into the burning building.  No chance of Him coming out of alive. He came to save those who were lost.  He is risen.  In the midst of the Twin Towers the cross above, from beams of the Word Trade Center, was found.  May He always find us.

Our bravery and courage should be like those who firemen:  to search for the lost. We are not yet called to be martyrs.  Our risk might be social discomfort, i.e. shame.  But we are not ashamed:  for He died and rose for you. “Oh, wondrous thought He found me when I sought Him not!”  In this crooked and lost generation, our vocation as His Church is not spiritual self-satisfaction but to be ready to bear the hurting home.  He will.

Let us pray…

Lord Jesus, light of the world, You shine with the brightness of the sun in the darkness of our crooked and twisted generation.  Give us strength to shine as lights in the world as we live out our baptismal life by serving our neighbors with thanksgiving and joy as sacrificial offerings of mercy and love;  for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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