Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Give Your Burden to the Lord"

Eleven years ago today, on September 11, 2011, following the frightening events of the day, I was asked to put together a short prayer service for our employees here at the J.S. Paluch Company and World Library Publications. I turned to Psalm 55, then wrote a short prayer. That prayer was sent, through a chain of e-mails, to a number of people, one of them being an Episcopal priest in New York City, who made hundreds of copies of the prayer. He brought them immediately to Saint Francis Hospital in Manhattan. He had hoped to share the prayer with the throusands of injured people that everyone thought would be brought to the hospital. We all know that those numbers of injured never materialized, since most who were in the towers were killed instantly. He did pass the prayer out to the hundreds of medical personnel who waited at Saint Francis Hospital that day for those who could never come. Let us remember those who died that day. And let us pledge a renewed commitment to peace.

Psalm 55

Listen, God, to my plea, do not ignore my cry.

Listen and answer, I shake with grief
at the furor of my enemies.
They threaten and attack me; they shout out curses,
venting their anger against me.

My heart is pounding, I can feel the touch of death.
Terror holds me in its grip, trembling seizes me.
"If I had wings like a dove, I would fly far and rest,
fly far away to the wilds to escape the raging storm."

Confuse their speech, Lord! I see violence and strife
stalk their city walls both day and night.

Evil and destruction live in their midst;
oppression and deceit never leave the public square.

If my enemy insults me, I can bear it;
if a foe rises against me, I can hide myself.

But it was you, my own friend, the one I knew so well.
With you I could always talk, even as we walked to the temple,
my companion amid the crowd.

God hears my cry, brings me to safety
when the battle is raging and my foes are many.

Give your burden to the Lord, who will be your support.
If you are faithful, God will not let you fall.

Let us pray.

O God of mercy and forgiveness,
We stand before you in pain, in fear, and in grief.
We know you desire good for your people,
which is why we are stunned when we face terror of today's magnitude.
We cry out to you with the word that we share with one another:

In our fear and doubt, we still turn to you,
O God, and ask your presence.

Welcome those who were killed today
into your loving embrace.
Give them eternal peace.

Comfort the families of those who lost loved ones.
Give them strength.

Be with those who have suffered pain.
Heal them.

Guide those who care for the injured.
Be their strength.

Lead our country through this grief.
Comfort us.

Bring justice to those responsible for this terror.

And Almighty God,
we pray that you do not abandon your people
in their time of need.


Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Chase M. Becker said...

I'll never forget the first reading for the Office of Readings that day was Habakkuk 1:1-2:4. The words were (and still are) chilling:

"How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord..."