September 09, 2016
"The towers are gone!" Those words will forever be etched into my memory; fifteen years have not been enough time to erase them. "The towers are gone," were the words spoken to me by a parking garage attendant in Wake County, North Carolina, as I left the parking deck of the county municipal building. I was there, along with other leaders from our church, attempting to get a building code variance. We were in the middle of a multi-million dollar building project. Our priorities and perception about life and what is truly important can change so quickly.
On this fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, may we be called once again to a season of prayer, peaceful action and spiritual reflection in the face of all violence, death and injustice. While the memory of those words, "The towers are gone!" still ache in my spirit, there are other words and images that give me hope. Two of those are prayers from our own United Methodist Book of Worship. I share them with you now, in hopes that they may aid you in your time of prayer, remembrance and spiritual reflection.
"Everlasting God, this day revives in us memories of (those persons who lost their lives in the senseless act of terrorism on 9/11). What happiness we shared when they walked among us. What joy, when, loving and being loved, we lived together. Their memory is a blessing for ever." (Book of Worship, 548)
"O God, you are the hope of all the ends of the earth the God of the spirits of all flesh. Hear our humble intercession for all races and families of earth, that you will turn all hearts to yourself. Remove from our minds hatred, prejudice, and contempt for those who are not of our own race or color, class or creed, that departing from everything that estranges and divides, we may by you be brought into unity of spirit, in the bond of peace." (Book of Worship, 526)
There is yet another image that helps me as I reflect; it is a scriptural image from, of all places, the book of Revelation. "Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:1-2) Come, Lord Jesus, heal us thou Prince of Peace!
Bishop Leonard E. Fairley