Praying on 9/11

As I write this, I know I have some ministry colleagues who are rubbing their eyes from computer-strain, and earnestly begging the Holy Spirit to GET ON WITH IT already and give them a little boost for the sermon tomorrow.

I think, for church-y people, the tenth anniversary of 9/11/2001 falling on a Sunday is both a curse and a blessing.

On the one hand, it means that an expectation of commemoration during worship has fallen on us. Ten years later, how people react to 9/11 still runs the gamut, and often says as much about other things in their lives as it does about how they were affected by the actual event. There’s a good chance that someone in your congregation will think you got it wrong, no matter what you preach, how you pray, or what special thing you planned for worship.

On the other hand, if you’re a church-y person, you’ve been given the opportunity to commemorate in the way you do best: with the gathered community, in prayer and reflection.

I’ll be off to church tomorrow, my second Sunday of this new adventure as not-the-pastor. I have no illusion that, as an associate pastor, I would have gotten to preach this Sunday. But I know I would have at least had an opportunity to help plan worship.

And, for me especially, being in church to remember seems about right: ten years ago, I spent 9/11 surrounded by my seminary classmates, watching the news on a big screen, with the sound turned down while we prayed…and prayed…and prayed…

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