Today marks the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City; Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and Arlington, Virginia. This day remains one of reflection and prayer. And indeed, there is much upon which one might reflect on this day—the endless conflicts and sorrows in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and elsewhere across the globe, and the appropriate response thereto; the suffering of countless Christians who have had to abandon their homes, in so many instances literally fleeing for their lives; the challenge to maintain focus on “our true home,” the Realm of God, wondrously in our midst yet all-too-often overshadowed by this fallen world and its “values” or lack thereof; and ultimately, the need to embrace that great gift of repentance, the very heart of the Gospel, to which all humanity has been called to embrace in faith and love.
Prayer stands at the heart of this day. We pray for all those who lost their lives in 9/11, as well as for their families and friends who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. It is also a day we fervently pray for those who, in ways known and unknown, selflessly reached out to victims and survivors alike; for those brave first responders—fire fighters and physicians, police and military personnel and officials, clergy and counselors and coworkers—who brought comfort and hope to friend and stranger alike; and for everyone still struggling to “make sense” of that which, by nature, is senseless.
Among those who lost their lives on 9/11 and for whom we pray on this day is one of my former parishioners, Lisa Terry, and her beloved family members. As we pray on this day, let us especially remember our brothers and sisters in Christ, asking the One Who is our very Life and Resurrection to grant them eternal rest with the saints, that “they may shine like the stars of heaven” in the Kingdom of the God to which we all aspire.