When the Towers Fell–A Prayer for 9/11

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God over all,

DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

when the towers fell it seemed our world changed. We remember where we were when we first heard,

when we saw the fearsome sight, when what we might have thought unassailable crumbled to dust. The shock and awe of those scenes haunt us still. Yet, as we draw near to you today we are sure that, if there had been a camera with the right lens, shots of that fateful day would show startling images of One whose likeness resembled the shadowy appearance of a-more-than-human figure walking, stooping, reaching, holding the injured and dying.  And, it is to this One, to You, we turn in our wounded worship.

God over all,

when the towers fell some of us felt like it must be the end of the world … because such had never happened here, in our places and spaces.  If those towers could fall, all towers must be teetering toward collapse.  Yet, as dust began to settle, our sisters and brothers elsewhere in their knowing-reach toward us demonstrated that falling towers are common across the panoramic human landscape, that our raw shock registers so regularly in some places as to rub terror-callouses on the souls of millions.  In such shadows we can see why they understood so quickly and reached so reflexively toward us.  So … when the towers fell maybe it wasn’t so much the sunset of the world, but a sad dawning of the world as it is and feels to so many others.

God over all,

when the towers fell and we’d recovered enough, some determined to rebuild better, sturdier and loftier towers, fortified by stronger and safer systems of security, monitored by keepers and watchers who never grow distracted or fatigued to slumber, backed up by mightier and more fearful defenses that make good on promises of unassailability. Yes, we determine never again … as though we could build such towers, secure such safety, and guarantee such defenses.  And in our determination we quarreled regularly with each other and more distant outsiders over most everything—over the specification of such towers, the materials out of which they might be built, over who and how might secure them, over … well, just about everything … and in the midst of the swirling dusts of our divisions if we’d looked closely we would’ve seen one face faintly smirking in the mist and Another weeping.

God over all,

after the towers fell and when others seem threatened, we struggle to remember that unless the one who is three and three who is one builds the tower, we will labor in vain; unless the one who is three and three who is one watches over us, we will never sleep well for all our anxious striving and surveilling; and it will always feel more like sunset and darkness than like the dawn of a new day.

And so …

God over all,

when the towers fall, we draw near to you. Yes, like living stones we run to the Living Stone, rejected, despised and apparently doomed, but chosen, honored, and exalted by the One and Only who counts the most. Yes, we run to the One who has become cornerstone and capstone.  We run to this One, we cast our cares upon this One, and indeed like living stones we would find ourselves taken up, positioned just so, cut and squared and re-made just right, connected and enlivened, rising tower-like into a Body that is building and a building that is Body, that pierces the darkness, and through the mists and rubble sounds clearly the praises of the glory of the goodness of earth’s Maker and Mender, and ours.

To the glory and for the pleasure of the One who is three and three who is One who determines to bless all, Amen.

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    It’s good to remember that all our “towers” are subject to failure: health, wealth, security, family, which have all fallen this past 7 months. This beckons us to the One who cannot fail. Thank you Bishop Kendall! I think 911 has a new landmark meaning for me of our frailty and God’s eternal strength, hope and peace, which is found nowhere else but in the One Creator. Shalom
    James

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    Thankyou Bishop.
    Your words are etched from God’s antiquitous truths and echo in his hallowed halls of justice.
    “Not by might nor power, says the Lord of hosts, but by my Spirit.”
    Towering foundations rought by the Spirit of God will stand eternal.
    Thankyou for this thoughtful prayer.

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