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Prayerful Tears

September 11, 2020

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not hold your peace at my tears.” Psalm 39:12a

Rabbeinu Bachya once said, “Prayer needs tears.” While this Jewish scholar lived from 1255-1340, his words are appropriate for today, September 11.

Like most people, I remember that day with great clarity. I was in my last year of seminary.  A classmate knocked on the door to my room, telling me simply to turn on the news. Trying to make sense of the early footage from New York, I was watching live as the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, flew into the South Tower.

Being in Minnesota at the time, I experienced the day from a distance. Still, as for most Americans, there was an immediacy to everything. As we gathered together – in shock, in prayer – my mind was racing. A family member was supposed to be flying that day, but I couldn’t remember where. Were they okay? A number of my classmates from William & Mary lived and worked in New York. Where were they? How were they?

My family was fine. My college class, however, lost one of its brightest lights. James was one of nearly 3,000 people killed that day.

Today we say, “Never forget.” Never forget what? Certainly, we won’t forget those beloved who were killed. Today reminds us not to forget that evil exists in the world. So, too, do we remember the selfless heroism of the firefighters, police officers, emergency responders, and others who ran into danger. We remember the fragility of life. We do not forget how the world around us can change in a moment.

On days of remembrance, it is natural to shed tears. Today, let our tears be prayers for peace. Today, let the waters of our tears remind us of the waters of life. Never forget, always remember your baptism. Let these waters comfort us with the promise that life has triumphed, that Christ walks with us in the valley of the shadow of death, and that in his name we can live boldly for the sake of others.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of peace, hear our prayers and heed our tears. We mourn those beloved lost on 9/11. We mourn those who have died during this pandemic. We mourn all those who have gone before us. Today, we remember the promise of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: A photo by Michael Foran from September 11, 2001 (used with permission).

From → COVID-19

One Comment
  1. Su Marotz permalink

    Well written, Dave

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