Prayer of Remembrance

Dear friends in Christ Jesus: 

I have been thinking about anniversaries lately. There are multiple reasons why my heart and mind have gone there. Some of my thoughts have been filled with joy and thanksgiving because they have brought to mind my marriage, or birthdays of cherished people. Other anniversaries have brought with them tinges of grief, even a tear because they recount something painful. They are reminders of loss, tragedy, grief. For example the sixteenth anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in late August evokes its own grief every year. It was made worse this year with the destruction of Hurricane Ida on the same date. Lord in your mercy… 

This week we will again stare down some of our worst pain, fear and grief as we come to the twentieth recollection of the events of September 11, 2001. It has made such an impression on us that it has its own shorthand – 9/11. 2977 mortalities. Thousands of injured physically. An incalculable number of lives torn apart. Generations shaped by the events of that day and the aftermath of war. We will be peeling back the layers of the moral injury long beyond many of our lifetimes. As we recollect may we do the social, political, economic and soul work that re-collects the broken pieces of our humanity and shapes a new future of justice and peace across the world. ”Hear our prayer O Lord. Incline thine ear to us and grant us thy peace.”

Let us pray: 

We remember, God of history and remembrance, we remember. We remember when the towers fell and the lives were lost; we remember the dust and the smoke, the despair, and the grief. We remember that sense of vulnerability and shock. We remember the numbness that overwhelmed us as we watched our screens for hours and hours, waiting for an explanation and understanding that never came. We remember. 

We remember, God of hope and presence, we remember. We remember the heroes, those who rushed to help, who guided the wounded down innumerable flights of stairs, who rose to overwhelm those who held death in their hands. We remember the hours and the days of binding wounds and healing hurts, giving comfort, drying tears. We remember words of support and compassion from nations far and wide. We remember. 

We remember in part because we see the ripples of that tragic day continue to impact our world twenty years later. We grieve with allies today as our allies grieved with us twenty years ago. And together we wonder if there will ever be an end . . . to violence, to war, to hatred, to death. We remember and we grieve our world’s inability to learn the things that lead to peace. 

We call to you now in our remembrance, God of justice and of peace. Give us a will to truly pray that your kin-dom may come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen and Amen. 

On this day of solemn remembrance:

May we honor the lives that were lost in this tragic act.
May we give thanks for those who served and saved, rendered aid and assistance.
May we give comfort to those who live with loss.
May we seek justice and peace where it is within our ability,
and rely on you when the ability escapes us. 
On this day of solemn remembrance:
May we build what has been torn down.
May we mend what has been broken.
May live your love when hate seems to reign.
May we bear witness to the cause of peace. 


Your Servant in Christ,

† Bishop Gregory V. Palmer