Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Prayers and closing comments at Gander 9-11 Tribute Service, 2011

I was privileged to be able to lead the opening prayer, and prayer of dedication, for the World Trade Center steel that was given to the Gander area for their efforts of ten years ago. I know that there was controversy in many places about praying 'in the Name of Jesus,' but these politically correct restrictions were thankfully not placed upon us.

Lord have mercy, Brian+

Opening Prayer
Loving Father, we have gathered this afternoon to remember both the tragedy and triumph experienced ten years ago today. We remember the tragedy when hatred and insanity sought to destroy, dishearten, and discourage: when violence and death forever changed the lives of children, men, and women, of families and nations. Comfort the afflicted and those who mourn, O Lord. But we also gather to recall the triumph of courage, compassion, and generosity. For the victory of valor, self-sacrifice, and those acts of beautiful humanity, that lift the heart, inspiring us to reach out to become what you call us to be, the children of God, peacemakers. This we pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ the LORD. AMEN

Prayer of Dedication
Lord of all creation, we present to You these two steel memorials which are the work of our hands; both of good and evil. They exist because of good hands building a Tower, a city, and a nation. Now, fragments because of the shattering of evil hands. But today, with Your Blessing may they symbolize and remind us of both the tragedy and triumph of September 11th, 2001. May the hearts and minds of all those who see and touch these memorials, be called to sober reflection and prayer. Yet, as Christ has shown us, may they know the ultimate victory of humanity’s courageous and humble service to those in need, as was displayed in New York City, Gander, and so many other places. In memory of Captain Brian Hickey, the events September 11, 2001, and to Your purposes, we dedicate this steel; in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Closing Comments
I was still 5 years old when a neighbourhood mom told me that JF Kennedy was assassinated. Why I remember that at such a young age, I do not know. I was a teacher in Plum Point on the Northern Peninsula, standing in the staff room watching the Challenger takeoff and explode, and I was driving from Prince County Hospital Summerside PEI to my Parish office when I heard on CBC radio that “what appears to have been an airplane has crashed into the north Tower of New York’s, Twin Towers.” Fortunately such indelible events upon the collective human memory are rare, for they are all too often events of tragedy.
Today we have gathered to reflect upon the tragedy of 9-11. The images and stories that flowed from our giant neighbor to the south will forever continue to cause us somber pause, even to shudder at the horror. But here in Gander and surrounding area, (and in other places as well), we were given, God-given, an opportunity, to do something other than watch. Perhaps the Lord knew that we were too weak to merely watch the pain and confusion of that tragedy. Nevertheless, when the World came to Gander that day, we were given the privilege of revealing what we believe all people are called to do: To do unto others as you would have them do unto you; and to love your neighbor as yourself.
We are awkwardly proud of what was accomplished here ten years ago, and sincerely hope that the circumstances never come our way again. But we do pray for the continued healing of the people and great nation of the United States, and those of other nations adversely affected by 911. And we pray that people everywhere, when tragedy occurs, might give of themselves to the needs of others, for it is good, it is very very good. It is of God.

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