Devotion for September 11th

I pray it becomes a day to remember courage and grace and love.

By Brian Doyle, Portland, Oregon

As appeared in

Pray for each other so that you may be healed.... James 5:16 (NIV)

A haunted day, September 11, here in the States that are still United in the wild idea that interindependence is possible and glorious. A shivering day. It always will be.

I pray it never becomes a mere anniversary, an event only to remember murder and terror and fire and fear—or even worse, a day only to celebrate vengeance. No, I pray it becomes a day to remember courage and grace and love. I pray that will someday be the story of September 11.

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To remember right is to pray right, says my dad, and he knows about murderous souls; he fought against Hitler.

He says to remember the roaring courage of the people who rushed to help, and the people who helped others out of the fire and ash, and the people who used their last minutes on earth to call their families and say “I love you. I love you. I will love you forever,” is to pray for them and us and even for the poor silly murderers, themselves just lanky, frightened boys, in the end, bloody boys terrified of a free world.

He says to remember the firemen who ran up, knowing they would never come down, the passengers storming the cockpit, the sergeant who ran out of the Pentagon to catch women leaping from high windows is the way to erase the name of the chief murderer.

He says that if we remember right, if we pray with our hearts in our mouths, maybe someday no one will remember the architect of ruin, but everyone will remember a day when the courage and mercy and glory of human beings rose to such a tide that no one will ever forget. That could happen, says my dad, and who will gainsay my dad? Not I.

Dear Lord, for the murdered, our prayers. For the murderers, our prayers. For us, frightened and muddled, prayers. For the courage to remember right, to witness and sing grace under duress, to someday find the country of forgiveness, prayers.
 

This devotional is excerpted from Daily Guidepost 2013.